There's still no official word on a potential Michigan-Alabama matchup at JerryWorld in 2012, but according to the almighty Saban, it's gonna happen.
"It hasn't been announced yet, but we're going to play Michigan in Dallas probably for sure," the Alabama coach said Thursday on his radio show.
Michigan-Alabama is an event, no matter where you play it. It pairs two of college football's most successful programs and two of the sport's largest fan bases. I'm sure a lot of folks won't like a potential neutral-site matchup in Arlington, Texas, but a look around the college football landscape tells us that's where things are headed.
Given how rarely the Big Ten and SEC play each other, I'll take any matchup we can get.
What strikes me most about the potential Michigan-Alabama game is how it impacts the Wolverines' 2012 schedule. Michigan hasn't announced its complete slate for 2012, but athletic director Dave Brandon has gone on record in saying Michigan will face Notre Dame that fall before potentially taking a break.
The Wolverines host the Irish in 2011 (first night game at Michigan Stadium), so if the pattern holds, Michigan will visit South Bend in 2012. That means only six true home games for Michigan. I'm not too concerned about the financial impact because Michigan would only agree to the Alabama game if it pockets a sizable chunk of the gate, but here's what the Wolverines could face two years from now.
vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)
at Notre Dame
at Ohio State
Michigan catches a bit of a break with no crossover games against Penn State or Wisconsin and gets both Michigan State and Iowa at home, but that's still pretty daunting.