There’s big news coming down the chute for two of the nation’s premier football programs. Sources close to Tomahawk Nation told the site that the Florida State Seminoles and Alabama Crimson Tide are very close to signing a deal for a non-conference matchup in 2017. Even better, the contest will reportedly take place at a neutral site, Atlanta, inside the city’s new billion dollar stadium – possibly the first college football game ever to be held in the complex.
The game against Alabama would likely be to open the 2017 season in the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium. Florida State won its last meeting against the Crimson Tide 21-14 in 2007, Nick Saban’s first as head coach of the Crimson Tide and Jimbo Fisher’s first as offensive coordinator of the Seminoles. Since then, the teams have combined to win four National Titles in a seven-year span. Sources are quite confident in the game against Alabama happening.
The budding announcement is quite intriguing, given, as Tomahawk Nation noted, both programs’ recent run of success. Even more so, for the past two seasons Alabama and FSU have danced around each other and come just short of playing for national championships. Both schools were part of the Final Four in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but lost their respective semifinal games – FSU to Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Alabama to eventual champion Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The year prior, FSU rode an undefeated wave, stifling defense and the golden arm of Jameis Winston to the final BCS Championship Game (and eventual title). Alabama appeared to be a juggernaut all season long, but was derailed by Auburn in the Iron Bowl – the Tigers would go on to face the ‘Noles in Pasadena that year.
Speaking of Auburn, Tomahawk Nation also reports that FSU is working on a similar non-conference matchup against its 2014 BCS Championship Game foes. Should that game come to fruition, it’ll likely be played at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field in 2019. Tomahawk does note, however, whereas the ‘Bama game is nearly a done deal, the Auburn contest is much more up in the air.
Should these games hold, it’ll mean that FSU will bookend each regular season with SEC matuchups, as the team always ends its season against the Florida Gators. Games like this are exactly what the NCAA was shooting for with the advent of the CFP. The first committee set the bar for quality wins and “quality losses” (whatever that last one means), so teams are now more apt to schedule difficult non-conference games. One loss doesn’t immediately knock you out from championship contention (if Oregon and Alabama were any indication this year, the L may just make you look stronger come judgement day). All in all, it’s a win for the fans. Especially considering the season could literally start and finish with the best two teams facing off.