Picture this: It’s 2018, and Alabama is playing Ohio State in front of 100,000 people at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Nick Saban is on one sideline. Urban Meyer is on the other.
But… the outcome doesn’t matter. It’s April, and the next meaningful game is still five months away.
Replacing Alabama’s annual intrasquad scrimmage on A-Day with a clash against, say, the Buckeyes — or a much smaller program — is not as far-fetched as it may seem.
Saban himself contemplated the idea Wednesday.
“Our players are here to get an education, but I’m not naive enough to think that we’re not in the entertainment business,” he said. “So sometimes when fans have interest in certain things, and things that create interest for fans, maybe that’s something that we should consider.”
The coach said he’s “sure the fans would all rather see” an outside opponent come to Tuscaloosa every April, but that scenario might not be beneficial to the team.
“I think we get a lot more out of spring practice when you can just practice the things that you want to practice to get ready for the fall, and you don’t have some game preparation that you have to get ready for because you’re gonna play somebody in the spring,” Saban said. “That’s just my selfish coach coming out.”
There’s also the fact that Alabama played 15 games last season. Would the Tide really want to make it 16 in a calendar year? Saban acknowledged the “downtime” between bowl season and spring season — roughly two months — is “not that great.”
As it stands, Alabama will host its typical A-Day festivities on April 16, and the current setup rivals any other spring game in the country.
“A-Day is a special day around here, and I want our fans to know that it’s really important to our players, how they support our team during A-Day,” Saban said. “That’s something that we’ve been really special at that I think other people are trying to sort of copycat, to make their game a big thing.
“I think it’s important that our fans show that they have just as much interest and enthusiasm for the program as they’ve ever had.”