Alabama Football: What happens if the Tide can’t play USC Week 1?

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Alabama football is scheduled to play the USC Trojans in their season opener, but that game isn’t guaranteed. What will the Tide do if it’s canceled?

We are used to Alabama football playing a Power-5 team in their first game of every college football season. The Tide have faced off against Wisconsin, Florida State, and even Clemson since Nick Saban took over. They are slated to play the USC Trojans this season, an opponent they have faced in recent years. Alabama wants to play this game, but USC might have other ideas.

The Pac-12 is considering a regular season consisting of only in-conference games in 2020. This is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only playing on the west coast would decrease travel and hopefully keep everyone safe, but that would also lead to many games being canceled.

One game that wouldn’t be played is Alabama’s season opener against the USC Trojans. This game is Alabama’s only true test outside of the conference, so it is vital that they play this game. However, this is out of the Tide’s control, so they can only prepare for how to pivot. If that games gets cancelled, what should Alabama football do?

The easiest transition would be if Alabama got to play another game in Week 1. Let’s see their options.


Hawai’i has a home game against UCLA scheduled on the same day as Alabama’s game in Texas. There is a chance that they could make something work out, but there is a gap between these schools. Alabama will have no interest in traveling across the Pacific Ocean to play a football game, and Hawaii won’t want to travel to Texas to lose to Alabama. This game also doesn’t help Alabama’s strength of schedule that much, so this isn’t likely.


The Wolverines are supposed to play at Washington, so they would possibly be okay with playing a neutral site game. However, they saw just how good Alabama football was when they played in their bowl game last season. I doubt they would want back-to-back losses against the Tide.


There has been buzz about this game, and it would make a lot of sense. TCU wouldn’t have to travel far, would be a significant boost to the schedule, and will need a game to fill in if they can’t play California. However, Greg Byrne has tried to squash these rumors. According to Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News, Alabama still plans to play USC. If that decision is taken away from them, this makes plenty of sense.

Next. Alabama football will have their toughest schedule in years. dark

The rest of the games would be barely worth playing. If Alabama can’t play USC, these are their best options. The obvious hope is that Alabama can just play against USC and that we can all put this behind us, but these make for quality contingency plans for if the Pac-12 decides to cancel non-conference games.