TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s 2017 schedule sets up favorably in a lot of ways compared to this season.
As the rotation goes, Alabama gets Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas and Tennessee at home. Alabama travels to in-state rival Auburn, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The scheduled is headlined by the opener vs. Florida State in Atlanta.
Alabama is going to lose a lot of star players from this year’s defense. But the Crimson Tide will return a lot of talent on offense, including its starting quarterback, running back, top receiver and at least three starting offensive linemen.
Here’s a breakdown of Alabama’s 2017 schedule.
Another great opener
Alabama vs. Southern Cal was great from the standpoint of name recognition. But the game itself turned out to be unwatchable unless you were an Alabama fan.
Alabama vs. Florida State in 2017 should be a really good football game. Both teams are going to have a ton of talent returning on both sides of the ball.
Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher is about as sexy a coaching matchup can get. Fisher is an offensive mind. Saban is a defensive mind. That lends itself to a great chess match.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois will both be entering their second seasons as starters.
Unlike some of Alabama’s other openers under Saban, this one should actually live up to the hype.
More prep time for Ole Miss
During the last two years, Alabama has faced in Ole Miss in Week 3 of the season.
Alabama gets the Rebels at home in Week 5 on Sept. 30 this year. That means Alabama will have time to get things figured out between the opener and the date with Ole Miss.
The three games between Florida State and Ole Miss for Alabama are Fresno State (Sept. 9) and Colorado State (Sept. 16) at home, and at Vanderbilt (Sept. 23). Those can all be checked as wins next season.
Looking ahead, Alabama will be breaking in a lot of new players on defense with the amount of seniors the unit will lose. The three-week stretch between the opener and Ole Miss will give Alabama time to see which players are going to be contributors next season.
Tough, but not impossible stretch
Alabama plays a four-week stretch where the team hosts Ole Miss (Sept. 30), plays at Texas A&M (Oct. 7) and hosts Arkansas (Oct. 14) and Tennessee (Oct. 21).
That’s not an easy stretch of games, but it is very manageable. There is nothing that suggests Alabama should come out at 4-0.
Three of the four games are at home. Both Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Tennessee will all be breaking in new quarterbacks as Chad Kelly, Trevor Knight and Joshua Dobbs are seniors.
It wouldn’t be a shock if all three of those programs took a step back considering how much they rely on their signal callers.
If you’re a fan…
Alabama’s trip to Nashville to face Vanderbilt on Sept. 23 is the best trip from a fan standpoint. The game itself may not be that exciting, but Nashville is a great town with plenty to do.
There are tons of bars and restaurants in Nashville for any type of crowd. This will be Alabama’s first trip to Nashville since 2007 so fans should enjoy this because it doesn’t happen often.
Alabama’s 2017 schedule:
Sept. 2: Florida State (Atlanta)
Sept. 9: Fresno State
Sept. 16: Colorado State
Sept. 23: at Vanderbilt
Sept. 30: Ole Miss
Oct. 7: at Texas A&M
Oct. 14: Arkansas
Oct. 21: Tennessee
Oct. 28: Bye
Nov. 4: LSU
Nov. 11: at Mississippi State
Nov. 18: Mercer
Nov. 25: at Auburn
Dec. 2: SEC Championship Game | Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Atlanta