Why Alabama’s 2024 football schedule is tough (but manageable)

Chattanooga v Alabama
Chattanooga v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Playing in the vaunted SEC West for the last three decades, Alabama has always had a difficult schedule to some degree. Under the divisional model, the Tide played opponents like Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee on an annual basis, in addition to the occasional bout against Georgia or Florida. Under Coach Nick Saban, Alabama frequently added a formidable non-conference opponent or two for good measure. 

The schedules going forward for 2024 and beyond will be no different. If anything, the SEC gauntlet gets even tougher with Oklahoma and Texas joining the fray. 

This fall, Alabama’s schedule is loaded with quality opponents. However, as schedules typically are, it is well-designed so as not to be overwhelming.


Bama opens with two lower-tier non-conference opponents in Western Kentucky and South Florida, both of whom will travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium. When it leaves home for the first time, the Tide will be traveling all the way to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium. This won’t be an easy out, and it will provide one of the first opportunities to see the SEC and Big Ten square off in the new “super conference” format. 

Following the challenging road trip, Alabama will host Georgia in what will be the most anticipated regular season game of the college football season. This is a gargantuan matchup, but both teams get a bye week to prepare before doing battle. 


Bama then has two very winnable conference games at Vanderbilt and against South Carolina before what may be its toughest stretch of the season. 

It all starts with a road trip to Knoxville to play a hated rival in the Tennessee Volunteers. The Tide fell in an instant classic last time it was in Neyland Stadium, so we should see a revenge-minded Alabama Football team take the field. On the other hand, the Vol faithful will very much believe they can win.

Bama then hosts a Missouri squad that won 11 games last year and looks to keep the momentum rolling. Mizzou looks good on paper, but it was an upstart under Eli Drinkwitz last season and will have to prove it can stack successful seasons. Additionally, getting the Tigers at home makes this game much less threatening.


Finally, Alabama faces one of its fiercest annual rivals, traveling to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers in Death Valley. At LSU is a notoriously difficult game, and the crowd will certainly be at a fever pitch when Alabama comes to town. Just like when it goes to Tennessee, Bama will face the dynamic of having lost the last time it was in the building. 

Even if you don’t fully believe in this year’s LSU team (I’m not sure I do yet), this will still be a challenging atmosphere against a well-coached team with good athletes. The difficulty of this game will be compounded by the physical matchups against Tennessee and Missouri in the two weeks prior. Meanwhile, the Bayou Bengals will be well-rested coming off a bye week. 

It helps Alabama to have Missouri at home in between these two road trips, but this three-game stretch could be tough for the Tide to navigate. 

After the LSU game, Bama gets one more lollipop as Mercer comes to town. Traditionally, this game would fall the week before the Iron Bowl, but the new-look SEC threw a curveball at the Crimson Tide. 

Bama’s last road trip of the regular season will be in Norman against one of the SEC’s newest members, the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma went 10-3 last season and hopes to take another step in the right direction in year three of the Brent Venables era. This won’t be an easy game, and it doesn’t give Alabama the opportunity to peek ahead at Auburn.

Having the Iron Bowl at home is reassuring, as the Tide rarely struggles with Auburn in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers hope to be improved under Hugh Freeze and will be looking to play spoiler in this rivalry game. 

Alabama is no stranger to handling tough schedules, and I think it will do well against its 2024 slate. The Tide has a bye week before what should be its best opponent, and generally avoids back-to-back road games against quality opponents. Keep in mind that with the introduction of a 12-team playoff, Alabama has a mulligan or two in its back pocket as well.