College football has a peculiar set of fiefdoms so when rumors arise sometimes you’ve got to wait a little bit to see how much smoke there is. With that disclaimer out of the way, Gary Stoken, who is the President and CEO of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and also oversees the Chick-fil-A kickoff series, went on the Thom Abraham Show in Huntsville and said that there was a possibility of Alabama and Notre Dame matchup to open this season:
Gary Stoken of the Chic Fil A Kickoff Classic said on the show that Notre Dame has been floated as a week one opponent for Alabama in South Bend, Tuscaloosa or Dallas…and there is a scenario that Virginia-Va Tech play in Atlanta if ACC/SEC goes "Conference +1" schedule
— Thom Abraham (@thomabrahamshow) July 17, 2020
Considering this was big news when the two programs announced a home and home series for 2028 and 2029, a decade away at the time of the announcement, this would be seismic news if it’s actually going to happen in 2020.
Notre Dame is, for now, still scheduled to play Navy in their opener on September 5th. Alabama was set to open vs. USC at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas, but the Pac-12 is eliminating its non-conference schedule. Notre Dame is also losing its Big 10 matchup against Wisconsin, while the ACC seems to be on the path towards accommodating the Irish with the six games their conference had scheduled against them.
On Wednesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey joined Clay Travis on Outkick on Fox Sports Radio for a wide-ranging interview. One of the things he mentioned was that Alabama would be looking for a new opening opponent:
Whether this Alabama vs. Notre Dame matchup would be in Tuscaloosa, South Bend, or Dallas remains to be seen, but if they pulled it off it would be a more compelling matchup than nearly all the non-conference games we are losing from the Big 10, Pac-12, and ACC.
UPDATE: This was fun while it lasted, but Alabama’s athletic director Greg Byrne says it’s not gonna happen:
Looking forward to our future H&H series w/ @NDFootball.
— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) July 18, 2020