| NEWS Nick Saban, I found an opponent to take your phone calls about a game. The challenge is back to you now. - AL.com


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The real season doesn’t start for Alabama until Nick Saban flies off the handle after beating a non-conference opponent by a thousand points.

So, it’s here. Finally. The Real Season.

And Alabama is in for a tough one this week.

The Crimson Tide begins it’s SEC schedule with an away game against South Carolina on Saturday. Alabama is favored by 26 points.

That’s four touchdowns and a safety in football math.

Is Alabama ready for such a tough SEC opener after beating Duke 42-3 in the season opener, and then going easy on New Mexico State to the tune of 62-10?

“I don’t know why you would ask me that question,” Saban said on Saturday. “As if I can do something about it when I can’t do anything about it. So, we’re playing the best teams we can get to play us.”

Rant over.

Saban just wants to play good football teams. Why is this so hard?

He even challenged reporters to call around and see if someone, ANYONE, would play Alabama.

It’s not that easy, of course. You can’t just call up Michigan and schedule a game for next season. These non-conference games are planned years in advance. How long does Saban plan to coach?

Still, I took Saban up on the challenge.

The first call went to Army because its an independent team without a conference like New Mexico State. That gives Army a little more flexibility.

Alabama hasn’t reached out to Army to schedule any football games in the future, according to Army senior associate athletics director Bob Beretta. Beretta has been making out schedules for Army for the last 15 years.

So, now you know who to thank for giving us Army against Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Michigan in the last four years.

And good news, y’all. Beretta didn’t rule out scheduling Alabama. (Sidebar: Beretta is already working on Army’s 2029 schedule.)

“For us, [scheduling] is a very important part for who we are as an academy,” Beretta said. “It’s a major outreach component for the United States Army and the United States Military Academy. Not just football. And we know that. We value that greatly.

So, when we schedule games, every one of those dates is very valuable to us.”

Let’s make this happen, people!

Here’s a challenge back to Saban: Play Army, and then stick around long enough to coach in the game.

Sounds like a win-win-win for everyone.

Alabama vs. Army would be amazing for several reasons.

One, it’s Army. Everyone loves Army (except for Navy).

Two, it would actually be an interesting non-conference game, which, for Alabama, are few and far between. For example, Alabama opens with Southern Cal next year, but then plays Georgia State, Kent State and Tennessee-Martin in other non-conference games.

In Alabama, those are the days people schedule their weddings.

No one is getting hitched the day Alabama plays Army, though. That’s a guarantee.

In the last two years, Army’s triple-option offense has taken Oklahoma and Michigan into overtime. The Wolverines needed double overtime on Saturday, surviving Army 24-20.

Army and Alabama have played one time. It was the 1988 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, and Alabama won 29-28. The game was billed as Alabama’s air attack against Army’s ground game. Sound familiar?

The Black Knights had a pick-six to take a 28-20 lead in the third quarter, but Alabama rallied in the fourth. David Casteal had the winning touchdown with 4:01 left in the game.

Sounds like it’s time for a rematch.

Or at least a lot better than New Mexico State.

“Why don’t you start calling around and see if you can get somebody else to play us and we’ll play them,” Saban said on Saturday. “We’ll play anybody you can get to play us.”

Sounds like a game with Army might just be a phone call away.
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