When the Alabama Crimson Tide get hot and bothered, they want others to start feeling the heat.
Such was the case with the administration Monday after the SEC announced that the Tide are scheduled to play their Sept. 21 football game at home against Southern Mississippi at 11 a.m. local time.
The change of seasons doesn’t often apply to the Deep South, where late summer/early fall temperatures still hit in the mid-90s.
And after the heat index for Alabama’s kickoff against New Mexico State at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Saturday reached around 105 degrees, school president Stuart R. Bell and athletic director Greg Byrne weren’t ready to cool down.
In a joint statement issued Monday, they said, “We are disappointed that our game against Southern Miss has been selected as a daytime kickoff at home. We realize we’ve played more non-conference day games at home in September than any other SEC team since 2014. There have been a number of conversations with our conference office, and they also recognize the challenges these kick times present for our student-athletes and fans.”
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, who wanted Alabama fans to stay through the entire game despite Saturday’s heat and a 62-10 runaway victory over the Aggies, backed down somewhat Monday during his weekly news conference.
“One thing I would like to say is I know it was a difficult day for our fans because of the circumstances surrounding the weather and I’d like to thank the fans for supporting the team and a lot of people hanging in there to try to support the team,” he said. “I think the players really appreciate it. We know it was a difficult circumstance for a lot of folks, and hopefully our administration will continue to work to try to play some of these games at a different time.”
ESPN or ESPN 2 will televise the Southern Miss-Alabama game, with nighttime telecasts involving SEC teams including Arkansas at home against San Jose State (SEC Network) and Georgia hosting Notre Dame (CBS).
Alabama ends the month with a home game against SEC rival Ole Miss on Sept. 28, with a kickoff time still to be announced.
—Field Level Media