All schools playing the Alabama Crimson Tide except two have cancelled their games against the juggernaut for the upcoming season.
The Virginia Tech Hokies, slated to start the season Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m. (CT) in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, and the Texas A & M Aggies, who will play the Crimson Tide's second scheduled game the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 14, at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, are the only committed universities willing to go on the gridiron with last year's NCAA Division I champions.
Saturday, Sept. 7, remains an open date, and most likely will stay open for eternity, if fate doesn't change.
Texas A & M gave the Crimson Tide their only loss last year, winning a barnburner 28-24 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 10, 2012. Led by returning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and other phenoms like All-American offensive tackle Jake Matthews, Texas A & M has one of the most talented teams in the country. The Ags went 10-2 last year in the regular season and won big over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Heartbreaking losses to Florida and LSU - by a combined eight points - cost them a place in a BCS bowl.
"We scheduled Alabama early in the season this year so we could knock them off early. If nobody else wants to schedule 'Bama for the rest of the season, we'll be more than happy to cancel all our other games and play them every week from our second game on," said second-year head coach Kevin Sumlin, who stymied the SEC last year with a very talented freshman quarterback and a hurry-up, no-huddle offense.
It's a mystery why Virginia Tech decided to open the season with such a dynamo as Alabama. A nondescript spokesperson for VT admitted that it was probably for the big money involved.
"And there's something magical about playing the number one team in the country. Even if you get annihilated in the process, you can always say 'you were there'," this spokesperson, who preferred to remain anonymous, is reported as saying.
Other SEC teams say Alabama's been like a level 5 hurricane, and the only way to stop such a terrible typhoon is to let it run out of wind. Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are expected to easily take the national championship again this year, according to a recent AP poll, with Ohio State coming in a distant second. Last year, the flood of red from Alabama ran all over unbeaten Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS title contest.
Before all schools canceled out on them, Alabama had four weeks of relatively easy games early on, if they could only get past Texas A & M. Unfortunately, the Colorado State Rams and Ole Miss nixed them in late September contests; while Georgia State and Kentucky canceled early October games. Even potential spoilermakers Arkansas and Tennessee decided to pencil in Kent State University and tiny Flagler College (respectively), instead of the Alabama ball club, in later October bouts.
"It's like the big bully on the playground who can't get anyone to play ball anymore because he's squashed everyone else in the past and will definitely to it in the future. What 4-foot-3 kid wants to go head-to-head with a 6-foot-9 monster?" said Assoociated Independent Press (AIP) sportswriter Kyle Stanislav, who's covered the Crimson Tide for 20 years and counting.
"I mean, can't Nick Saban throw a game, say against Colorado State or the Chattanooga Mocs?" Stanislav argued. "It could be fully controlled, sort of like a scrimmage or something. Couldn't he play the third or fourth string? They could still play in the BCS championship later. And at least they'd have a full schedule. Nobody wants to play college football against a professional football team."
"I'll be spending a lot of time waiting around for basketball season now," Stanislav complained. "And I hate basketball. I really do. I'd rather watch snow fly - and not a whole lot of snow flies down here in Alabama. We're lucky to get a bit of ice here."
Perennial powerhouse LSU even cancelled out on 'Bama. LSU, like Texas A & M, was picked as a possible upset for the Crimson Tide, but no game is slated and the Tigers opted for an open day on Nov. 9. Unnamed sources claim that the Edward Waters College Tigers, a small private college in Jacksonville, Fla., is considering scheduling LSU, instead.
"EWC likes LSU because both teams have the same colors. Well, sort of, kind of. And I'm sure they're getting a boatload of money for the game, too," Stanislav explained.
"It's a real shame to see such a great football team idled for an entire season. The ghost of Bear Bryant is very upset and is restless about this very horrid chain of events," Stanislav complained.
Just like Bear Bryant once said, "Get the winners into the game," has somehow fallen on deaf ears in the mighty SEC.
Stanislav said he hopes the Crimson Tide can schedule some other teams, even much smaller Division III colleges, to play on this year's gridiron with the Tide.
"There's nothing worse than having the best university football club in the world, with nobody wanting to play against you. If this continues, Alabama is going to have to become famous for something else, like catfish, cotton, or soybean production. But that sort of stuff is really, really boring. Like who cares?" Stanislav griped.