Speculation of a TCU and Alabama football match-up to start the 2020 season at AT&T Stadium has been building for a couple days now. ESPN commentator Paul Finebaum addressed the chatter on national airwaves Tuesday morning.
But TCU is shooting down the speculation as just that — speculation. For now, at least. There’s been no official talks between the schools.
“We are preparing to play Cal in Week 1,” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati told the Star-Telegram. “If we determine at some point that we cannot do so, we’ll look at other options.”
Donati said that a decision on what do to about the opponent for that Week 1 contest needs to be made by around July 1.
Why is this match-up speculation gaining momentum? Well, both schools are set to face Pac-12, California-based schools to open the season. TCU is scheduled to play at Cal on Sept. 5, while Alabama and USC are scheduled to meet at AT&T Stadium that day.
But the Pac-12 has discussed playing a conference-only schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic. That would limit the amount of travel and exposure those teams would face this fall.
If the Pac-12 goes down that route, TCU and Alabama would both be looking for a non-conference opponent to open the season on the same date.
It’s an intriguing possibility that was met with support from at least one TCU player. Tight end Pro Wells tweeted, “Come in bama.”
TCU has played at AT&T Stadium five times in its history, going 2-3 in those games. The Horned Frogs last appearance was a 40-28 loss to Ohio State in a non-conference game during the 2018 season.
Alabama, meanwhile, is 4-0 at AT&T Stadium, knocking off Michigan (2012), Wisconsin (2015) and USC (2016) in the Advocare Classic to start those seasons and defeating Michigan State at the Cotton Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal in 2015.
TCU and Alabama haven’t met since 1975. TCU owns the all-time series record, 3-2, with victories in 1955, 1956 and 1957, and losses in 1974 and 1975.