It's official: Michigan and Alabama football to play in 2012
It had been rumored for months. On Thursday, Michigan and Alabama made it official. The college football teams will open the 2012 season against each other at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The game will be played Sept. 1, 2012 on a prime time national telecast.
"This is a great way to kickoff the 2012 season with two of the nation's winningest college football programs," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement. "We are excited about playing a regular season game in the state of Texas, a region of the country where we have traditionally recruited.
"Our goal is to get as many Michigan fans to the game as possible to witness this matchup of traditional powers."
The game will be televised by either CBS or ESPN. Michigan will be the road team. Big 12 officials will be used.
The game is part of the stadium's five-year agreement to host the "Cowboys Stadium Classic." BYU upset Oklahoma there in 2009 and TCU beat Oregon State earlier this season. LSU and Oregon will meet in 2011.
Michigan and Alabama have played three times, but never in the regular season. The Wolverines beat Alabama, 28-24, in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl. 'Bama knocked off Michigan in the '97 Outback Bowl, 17-14.
Michigan, with Tom Brady at quarterback, beat Alabama in overtime in the 2000 Orange Bowl, 35-34.
Of course the Wolverines are also familiar with Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was the head coach at Michigan State from 1995-99. Saban was 2-3 against the Wolverines during his five years in East Lansing.
"It's exciting to announce that two of college football's most tradition-rich teams will be meeting in 2012," Alabama athletic director Mal Moore said in a statement.
"We have such tremendous respect for Michigan. Their school, their outstanding tradition and their following. It's a terrific opportunity for our student-athletes and our entire program."
It also means the Michigan schedule in 2012 has the potential to be brutal. In addition to Alabama, the Wolverines will travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 22, to Nebraska on Oct. 27 and to Ohio State in the regular season finale on Nov. 24.