Saban Praises Idea of Playing Smaller In-State Schools
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With SEC Media Days in full swing, Nick Saban was asked about his thoughts on playing in-state schools such as Alabama State or Alabama A&M in the near future.
Saban was all for it and encouraged the idea.
“I’ve always been an advocate of playing in-state schools because I think it sort of helps them raise their level and their ability to compete, which obviously if you do that, you also contribute to how successful the players in those organizations can be,” said Saban.
While Saban’s response was all in favor of playing in-state schools, this has not been the case for several years. The last time Alabama played an in-state school not named Auburn was in 1944 against Samford.
On the other hand, Auburn has hosted multiple in-state schools in recent years including Alabama State (2018, 2021), Alabama A&M (2012, 2016), Samford (2011, 2014, 2019), and Jacksonville State (2015).
Why can’t Alabama bring in those same in-state opponents and pay them instead of scheduling and paying teams like New Mexico State and Mercer?
Surely, fans and players on both sides would be more excited for in-state matchups and these games would most likely bring in more money with more people attending.
Many other SEC schools will be playing smaller in-state schools this year, with games such as LSU-Southern, Florida-USF, Tennessee-UT Martin, and Texas A&M-Sam Houston State.
Could Saban's positive comments on playing in-state teams lead to Alabama hosting a team like UAB or Troy soon?
The Tide has most of its future non-conference matchups scheduled for the next few years... so don't get your hopes up.
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