Alabama Football: FBS programs that have never played the Crimson Tide

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Alabama Football
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football vs. MAC

There are nine MAC teams Alabama has never played. Some Crimson Tide fans would say the Crimson Tide has played one MAC team too many.

In the 2003 season, No. 21 ranked Alabama played Northern Illinois in Tuscaloosa. The Huskies were not intimidated and at times were the more physical team. The result was a 19-17 Northern Illinois win.

Ball State Cardinals -Ball State racked up some SEC cash last season playing the Tennessee Vols. The Cardinals are in for more cash and more punishment in the 2023 season, opening at Kentucky, followed by Georgia in Athens.

Eastern Michigan Eagles, Central Michigan Chippewas, and Western Michigan Broncos – None of Michigan’s directional schools have ever played the Crimson Tide. Sure the money is good, but as Jim McElwain no doubt understands, there is little else to be gained by playing an Alabama team in the Nick Saban era.

Akron Zips and Toledo Rockets – The programs appear to be nicknamed for automotive and aerospace products. Akron is lucky the original use of the Zippers nickname did not stick. Zippers were a rubber overshoe sold by B.F. Goodrich. From 1927 to 1954, Akron was the Zippers before the name was shortened. The Rockets’ nickname has nothing to do with aerospace. The nickname was chosen after a 1923 game when Toledo exploded for two long touchdowns. Toledo was not explosive enough to win that game. It was not until 1962 that Toledo moved up to what is now the FBS. Nick Saban had success in his one season as the Toledo head coach and was also smart enough to quickly move on.

Buffalo Bulls and Ohio Bobcats – Since 1999, the Bulls have only one 10-win season and a bunch of one-win, two-win, and three-win seasons. In 1999, Buffalo won no games. Staying away from the Crimson Tide is a sound plan. The Ohio Bobcats are one MAC program that might challenge a couple of SEC teams if every single break in a game went to Ohio.