Alabama at USF. ABC national TV. An expected packed house for next Saturday’s game at 3:30 p.m.
Need we say more?
The Crimson Tide (1-1) will be determined for a rebound following the 34-24 defeat against the Texas Longhorns that ended Alabama’s 43-game winning streak in home non-conference games.
New Bulls head coach Alex Golesh was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator last season when the Volunteers upended Alabama 52-49 on Chase McGrath’s 40-yard walk-off field goal at Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium.
“It’s another step for the growth of our program,” Golesh said. “It will be fascinating to see where we are standing (next Saturday) and where we are as a program.
“That’s obviously a big-time football program and a big-time coaching staff. It’ll be really, really cool to see us go and compete against one of the better teams in the country. If you want to say you want to be a top 20 program, you’ve got to go play against those guys. I’m excited to get to play them here. Honestly, I hope this place is rocking and rolling and it’ll be a blast.”
Other Alabama-USF tidbits:
* Nick Saban has been a head coach at five stops — Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and now Alabama. He has won games in 46 different stadiums. But he’s 0-2 at Ray-Jay — falling 27-13 with the Dolphins against the Tampa Bay Bucs on Oct. 16, 2005 and dropping a last-second 35-31 decision against Clemson on Jan. 9, 2017 in the College Football Playoff championship game.
* Former Bulls head coach Charlie Strong (2017-19) is an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff. Alabama offensive line coach Eric Wolford was a member of USF’s inaugural staff and helped coach the Bulls for the program’s first three seasons (1997-99). He has been an offensive line coach for seven other schools since then, while also spending two seasons with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
* USF is 3-9 all-time against opponents ranked in the Associated Press top 10. The wins: 45-14 against No. 9 Louisville in 2005, 24-19 against No. 7 West Virginia in 2006 and 21-13 against No. 5 West Virginia in 2007.
* USF opened the 2003 season against Alabama at Birmingham’s Legion Field. The Tide won 40-17 in the first game for Coach Mike Shula.
* The Bulls are 2-6 against SEC competition, winning at Auburn 26-23 (overtime) in 2007 and beating South Carolina 46-39 (overtime) in the 2016 Birmingham Bowl. Saturday’s game is the second time for USF to face an SEC opponent at Ray-Jay (along with Florida in 2021).
* USF has two upcoming trips to face Alabama in Tuscaloosa — 2024 and 2026.
* USF offensive tackle R.J. Perry, a transfer from Tennessee, will be playing against his cousin, All-SEC Alabama cornerback Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry, a top NFL prospect. They both grew up in Birmingham. Perry said the nickname originated because “he always had that Kool-Aid smile … didn’t matter whether he was feeling down, injured or just normal. He was always smiling like that.” You guessed it. McKinstry already has a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal with Kool-Aid.
– #GoBulls –