We don’t usually delve into scheduling announcements here at FootballScoop… but Notre Dame and Alabama don’t announce home-and-homes series.
Notre Dame will host Alabama in South Bend on Sept. 2, 2028 and Alabama will return the favor on Sept. 1, 2029.
The fact that the games are being played — and played on campus — are notable for a number of reasons. Alabama pioneered the current trend of neutral site openers, going 8-0 since 2008 in opening games played in Atlanta and Dallas. The Tide open this season with Louisville in Orlando, and also face Duke (2019) and Miami (2021) in Atlanta to open those respective seasons.
The neutral site openers also spawned a trend of neutral site home-and-home games, such as when LSU and Wisconsin played a series of games in Houston and Green Bay in 2014 and ’16. Had this series been scheduled a few years earlier, it’s highly possible they would have been played in Chicago and Atlanta instead of South Bend and Tuscaloosa.
Those games are well-attended and highly profitable, but are a departure from the pageantry that made many fall in love with college football in the first place. Greg Byrne’s arrival at Alabama triggered a change in thinking at the school.
“Greg Byrne and I met about doing this in the future where we have some home-and-homes with some teams every now and then so we’re not playing in one of these neutral-site games to start the season,” Nick Saban said in the fall.
Alabama is also reportedly discussing a home-and-home with Texas as well.
Notre Dame has also shown a willingness to play games in the South under Brian Kelly. In addition to the school’s scheduling agreement with the ACC, the Irish are set to visit Georgia in 2019 and Arkansas in 2025.
Notre Dame and Alabama have met seven times previously, but rarely on each other’s campuses. Alabama has played in South Bend twice — 1976 and 1987 — and Notre Dame has visited Birmingham twice, but has never played at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Saban will be 76 when the series begins, and Kelly will be 66.