For the 11th time since 2014, the University of Alabama will play a September home non-conference football game in the heat of daytime. UA officials expressed their disappointment with that fact Monday afternoon.

The SEC announced No. 2 Alabama will host Southern Miss at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21, to be televised on either ESPN or ESPN 2. The exact network will be determined by the conclusion of Saturday’s games.

Shortly after the announcement, UA President Stuart R. Bell and Director of Athletics Greg Byrne released a joint statement: “We are disappointed that our game against Southern Miss has been selected as a daytime kickoff at home. We realize we’ve played more non-conference day games at home in September than any other SEC team since 2014. There have been a number of conversations with our conference office, and they also recognize the challenges these kick times present for our student-athletes and fans.”

The Tuscaloosa News' Cecil Hurt discovered that of Alabama’s 12 non-conference September home games since 2014, only one has been at night. That contrasts drastically with LSU, which would have played 12 of its September non-conference home games at night if not for the 2015 game being canceled due to weather.

UA stretched itself to accommodate fans attending a 3 p.m. game last weekend against New Mexico State, providing sunscreen dispensers throughout the stadium and several large water coolers. Byrne encouraged fans to bring their own refillable cups for use at the water stations.

“One thing I would like to say is I know it was a difficult day for our fans because of the circumstances surrounding the weather and I’d like to thank the fans for supporting the team and a lot of people hanging in there to try to support the team,” Saban said on Monday. “I think the players really appreciate it. We know it was a difficult circumstance for a lot of folks, and hopefully our administration will continue to work to try to play some of these games at a different time.”

Saban’s Monday words come after speaking on the common subject of fans, particularly students, staying in the stadium for the entire game.

“I think it enhances the value of our program if our stadium is full, if people stay for 60 minutes of the game. From my standpoint, I always want to see the stadium full and I want to see people stay for 60 minutes of the game. I would love for the students to stay for the whole game.”

This will be UA’s first meeting with the Golden Eagles since 2014, a 52-12 win in Bryant-Denny Stadium. It will be just the second meeting between the two schools since 2005.

The schools used to be frequent opponents, playing each other every year between 1992 and 2005. The only Southern Miss win in that stretch was a 21-0 game in 2000 in Birmingham.

It will be the first of two consecutive home games, with UA hosting Ole Miss the following week.


Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson