With a new series announced, we take a look at the history between Notre Dame and Alabama
Yesterday, Notre Dame and Alabama officially announced a two-year home-and-home series for 2028 and 2029. While this seems to have been a no-brainer to set up, we will have to wait a decade before we see this matchup unfold.
The Irish are set to host the Crimson Tide on September 2nd, 2028, and Alabama will return the favor September 1st, 2029. It will mark the first time the two programs have played a home-and-home series since the 1986-1987 seasons.
These are two of the most storied programs in college football, yet they rarely see each other. Notre Dame leads the all-time series history 5-2. That’s right — there have only been seven games between the No. 1 and No. 2 leaders in total National Championships.
The series first began in 1973 as part of the Parseghian-era. The Irish coaching legend did just enough to lead his team to a narrow 24-23 victory over the Crimson Tide. The win over No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar bowl capped off an 11-0 perfect season and added another National Championship to Notre Dame’s record.
The score reflected just how close their first matchup really was. In a game with six lead changes, three turnovers in 90 seconds during the fourth quarter and a Bob Thomas field goal to win it; Notre Dame and Alabama was an instant classic.
Just a couple of short years later, the two faced off once again. The 1975 Orange Bowl was the setting for No. 1 Alabama to secure a National Championship pending an undefeated season.
The Irish came into the game following a stunning loss to USC in the regular season finale. With a 13-0 lead for Notre Dame, they were able to hold on in the final minutes despite the Alabama comeback. An interception from Reggie Barnett sealed the deal as Notre Dame went on to win 13-11. The game would also seal Parseghian’s career. The Hall of Famer was carried off the field in his final game as Notre Dame’s head coach.
With two regular season games being played in 1976 and 1980 — one in South Bend and the other in Birmingham — Notre Dame claimed a 4-0 record over Alabama.
The inauguration of Lou Holtz
It wasn’t until 1986 that Alabama would finally defeat Notre Dame. In Lou Holtz’s first season as head coach of the Irish, the schedule did him no favors. Three of Notre Dame’s first four games were against ranked opponents — two of them against top three teams.
No. 2 Alabama welcomed in the Irish for an October game that ended in a 28-10 victory over Notre Dame.
The very next season, Holtz quickly turned around the Notre Dame program. The Irish were set up with a top ten matchup against the Crimson Tide. No. 7 Notre Dame was too much for No. 10 Alabama, as the Irish posted 34 points in the final three quarters leading to a 37-6 rout.
That would be not only the last home-and-home series between the two programs, but the last time they met in the regular season as well.
The most recent matchup is the one that no one will forget — the 2013 BCS National Championship. It was Alabama’s second straight BCS championship and their third in four years. With the score as lopsided as 35-0 in the third quarter, Notre Dame failed to show up following their undefeated regular season. A 42-14 final score might not mean much to the players in 2028-29, but for the fans, it will be a long-awaited chance at revenge.
Unless there is a postseason game between the two, Notre Dame and Alabama will not have played each other for 15 years. One has to wonder what will both teams look like at that time. No matter what they may look like, we will all be just as anxious to see the two storied programs battle it out.