Alabama taking harder stance against playing in-state teams

How long has it been since Alabama played a non-conference football game against a team from the state of Alabama? So long that the school no longer goes by the same name.

The team was Howard. And the year was 1944.

That’s 73 years. And based on the recent comments of new Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne, it may be 73 more years before it happens again.

Byrne was asked about the topic last week at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida. He responded: “I think we have a very good model that’s worked well for us and I don’t see that changing.”

I’ve always been an advocate of Alabama scheduling South Alabama instead of Georgia Southern; Samford instead of Western Carolina. But I always maintained that Alabama had a right to schedule whatever teams it wanted and that eventually that would include Troy or South Alabama.

But Byrne’s comments take the topic to a new level. His remarks seem to indicate that it’s actually a thought-out strategy for Alabama to shun in-state schools.

There’s no law against that — and I certainly wouldn’t want lawmakers sticking their noses in this argument — but it does make me wonder what harm Alabama officials believe would come from scheduling some of these games.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.

Stephen Root