The Crimson Tide's SEC title defense will take them to Auburn, College Station and Starkville
The A-Day Game has come and gone at Bryant Denny Stadium so now the countdown can begin for when the Alabama Crimson Tide return to the field. That day will come on Aug. 31 when the defending SEC champions return to the friendly confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the 2019 Chick-fil-A Kick-Off Classic against Duke.
Here's a look at what else awaits Alabama this fall as Nick Saban and company have their sights set on getting back to the College Football Playoff, and hopefully earning another shot at winning the national title.
Byes: Week 6, Week 10
Week 1 — Aug. 31 vs. Duke (Atlanta)
Alabama opens the season inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a venue that has been quite fond of the Crimson Tide in recent visits. This time the opponent is Duke, a team that is coming off of an 8-5 campaign in 2018. Things would be a bit easier if Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe had quarterback Daniel Jones, a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, still running his offense. Nick Saban's squad has been mighty stingy in season openers since 2008.
Week 2 — Sept. 7 vs. New Mexico State (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
The Crimson Tide will play their first home game against the New Mexico State in what should be a mere exhibition before opening SEC play on the road against South Carolina. The independent Aggies won just three games last season, so this should be a matchup in which Saban gets to see plenty of his younger players in action.
Week 3 — Sept. 14 at South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
Bama heads to Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time since 2010 when the Tide were stunned 35-21 by the Gamecocks. Stephen Garcia, Marshon Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery helped pull off the upset of the No. 1 team in the nation that day. This will be South Carolina's SEC home opener as Jake Bentley looks to pull off another monster upset.
Week 4 — Sept. 21 vs. Southern Miss (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
The Golden Eagles won six games last season, and might have had a seventh if not for their game vs. Appalachian State getting postponed due to inclement weather. Southern Miss finished second in Conference USA's West Division and figures to be a heavy underdog for this matchup.
Week 5 — Sept. 28 vs. Ole Miss (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Last year Alabama defeated the Rebels 62-7 in Oxford. The 2018 Ole Miss offense featured three NFL-caliber wide receivers (D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and DsMarkus Lodge) and mustered all of one touchdown. How many, if any, will this Rebels team, which also will be breaking in a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator, score at Bryant Denny?
Week 7 — Oct. 12 at Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)
This matchup could very well be Alabama's toughest game in the 2019 regular season. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies almost knocked off Clemson last year at Kyle Field and you can bet they'll be primed for this opportunity. With Kellen Mond at the helm and Fisher making $75 million these are the moments where you earn your massive contract. Saban and Alabama know all too well what A&M is capable of. Just go back to 2012 and '13.
Week 8 — Oct. 19 vs. Tennessee (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Saban has never lost a game to a former assistant. Jeremy Pruitt isn't likely to end that streak anytime soon. The Volunteers should be improved in Pruitt's second year at the helm, but probably still aren't quite ready to hang with the Tide just yet.
Week 9 — Oct. 26 vs. Arkansas (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Last year in Fayetteville, the Crimson Tide hung 65 points in a 34-point rout of the Razorbacks. Chad Morris should have the Razorbacks playing better, but this is a program coming off of an extremely disappointing 2-10 campaign. Maybe the Tide sleepwalk through this one with a bye looming followed by the annual tussle with LSU?
Week 11— Nov. 9 vs. LSU (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
LSU hasn't defeated Alabama since the epic 2011 regular season encounter, a game that needed overtime to decide. Ed Orgeron has quieted the critics after leading the Tigers to 10 wins last season, but a win over the Tide, especially in Tuscaloosa, will validate his tenure. Can the Bayou Bengals get enough from quarterback Joe Burrow and the offense to pull off the upset on the road?
Week 12 — Nov. 16 at Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.)
If you need more cowbell then Starkville on a Saturday is the place to be. Joe Moorhead underwhelmed in his debut campaign and Nick Fitzgerald, Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons have all departed. For what it's worth, the Bulldogs had Bama on the ropes in 2017 and will look to do the same here.
Week 13 — Nov. 23 vs. Western Carolina (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Don't sleep on the Catamounts! No, seriously, Saban will not allow you to sleep on Western Carolina from the FCS ranks. It's part of the process.
Week 14 — Nov. 30 at Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)
The Iron Bowl will take place in Jordan-Hare Stadium with the Tigers looking to make it back-to-back home wins against the Tide for the first time since the mid-2000s. I don't envision this game being a "winner-takes-all in the West" situation but it's always a compelling matchup.
— Written by Nick Kayal, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network as a college football and NFL writer. Nick is a Morning Show Host in Nashville on 102.5 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @NickKayal.