TUSCALOOSA — Alabama's trend toward adding quality home-and-home opportunities to its future football schedules continued Thursday when it agreed to a three-game series against South Florida beginning in 2023.
The Crimson Tide will kick off the series on the road at USF's Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. In return, the Bulls will travel to Tuscaloosa for a pair of games on Sept. 7, 2024, and Sept. 12, 2026.
“Our future non-conference schedules are really rounding out quite nicely with the addition of series such as this one with USF,” Alabama director of athletics Greg Byrne said in a statement released by the team. “We look forward to the early-season road test against a quality opponent in an NFL stadium in 2023 and will welcome them to Tuscaloosa for a pair of home games in 2024 and 2026.”
South Florida is the fifth FBS opponent that Alabama has scheduled to future home-and-home series in the last year, joining Texas in 2022-23, West Virginia in 2026-27, Notre Dame in 2028-29 and Oklahoma in 2032-33.
The first game with USF helped the Tide both fill out and strengthen its three-game non-conference schedule in 2023, with the road game replacing a previously scheduled home game against Western Kentucky on Sept. 16, following home games against both Central Michigan (Sept. 2) and the Longhorns (Sept. 9).
The 2024 return game with South Florida is the first non-conference game Alabama has announced that season, while the 2026 game in Tuscaloosa joins a previously scheduled road game at West Virginia earlier that season.
“We are pleased to add games with South Florida in 2023, 2024 and 2026 to our non-conference schedule,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban was quoted as saying in a news release. "Charlie Strong has built a strong program with the Bulls, and playing this kind of competition only makes our team better. It gives our team two really good home games in 2024 and 2026, and we will enjoy the challenge of playing in Tampa in 2023.”
The Crimson Tide won the only other game played against South Florida, taking a 40-17 victory on Aug. 30, 2003, in Birmingham. That was Mike Shula's debut as Alabama's head coach.
Alabama is set to begin the 2019 season on Aug. 31 in Atlanta against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, one of the few remaining non-conference neutral-site games that the Tide have utilized frequently over the last decade, before returning to Tuscaloosa to face New Mexico State on Sept. 7.