Alabama returns favor, placing Texas band in upper deck at Bryant-Denny Stadium

While Texas and Alabama won’t face off on the gridiron until Saturday, the school’s administrations are already going at it for a second straight season. 

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne confirmed that the school will seat its 5,000 allotted tickets for Texas fans and the band in the upper deck of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The move comes after Texas did something similar for last year’s matchup between the two teams, placing its allotted tickets for Alabama fans and its band in the upper deck of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. 

“We are able to reciprocate a similar seating arrangement to what we had last year in Austin,” Byrne told The Tuscaloosa News.

Alabama ultimately didn’t send its band to Texas for last season’s game after it learned of the arrangement. Texas, however, will send its band to Alabama for this season’s matchup, though it will follow a similar policy it has for out-of-state games by sending fewer members and not holding a halftime performance, a member of Texas’ athletics administration told The Tuscaloosa News. 

When the two schools agreed to their home-and-home series in 2018, they included in the contract that the home team in each matchup must allot “4,500 to-buy-tickets and 500 comps to its followers (including bands),” but it didn’t say where those tickets needed to be. 

Rice Owls vs. No. 11 Texas Longhorns Highlights

Texas has been allowed to place its allotted seats for the visiting team’s fans and band anywhere in the stadium, regardless of opponent. The Big 12 requires each school to allot at least 2,500 tickets to the visiting team’s fans and band, but it doesn’t stipulate where they need to be seated.

“We moved the visitors section from the lower bowl to give our students a contiguous student section thus creating a fantastic atmosphere for in DKR,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte wrote in a social media post after receiving criticism for seating TCU’s fans and band in the upper deck during a matchup in 2018. “If a visiting team elects to bring their band must sit in the seats allotted for visitors.”

The SEC, which will welcome Texas and Oklahoma in 2024, forces all schools to allocate at least 2,500 seats for fans of the visiting team in the lower bowl of stadiums for conference matchups. Alabama and Texas aren’t scheduled to meet in 2024. 

Last season’s matchup was an instant classic, with Bryce Young leading then-No. 1 Alabama to a 20-19 win over Texas. Longhorns starting quarterback Quinn Ewers went down with a shoulder injury in the first half of the game, but Texas’ defense was able to slow down the Crimson Tide for much of the matchup until they drove down the field and kicked the game-winning field goal with 10 seconds remaining. 

There will be a few other notable differences in this year’s matchup between the two college football powers. First, the weather is expected to be a bit cooler than last year’s matchup, which was in the mid-90s as it was played in late morning and early afternoon in Texas. Saturday’s game will be played at night, with early weather reports indicating that the temperature will dip from the mid-80s to the high-70s during the game. 

Alabama vs. Texas Highlights

Of course, the big difference is that Alabama won’t have Young at quarterback for this season’s matchup. The Crimson Tide replaced Young, who threw for 213 yards and a touchdown with 38 rushing yards in last year’s game, with Jalen Milroe in Week 1. The redshirt sophomore completed 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns to go with 48 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in Alabama’s Week 1 win over Middle Tennessee

Ewers completed 9 of 12 passes for 134 yards as he led Texas to two scores in the only two drives he played in last year’s game. 

Alabama is currently listed as 7.5-point favorites heading into Saturday’s showdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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