Clemson University

Tigers look to add Tide to schedule

CLEMSON -- As Clemson continues to stockpile SEC opponents on future football schedules, the Tigers may soon roll with the Tide.

The school is in discussion with Alabama about staging a neutral site game at the GeorgiaDome in 2008, athletic director Terry Don Phillips said Wednesday.

A deal has yet to be finalized, Phillips said, as the idea was broached just this month.

"It would be an attractive game," Phillips said.

Although Clemson's 2008 non-conference schedule is technically full, Central Florida has asked out of its contract to lighten its load since joining Conference USA.

UTEP has backed out of a game with Alabama because of the Mike Price connections, leaving both teams with an opening. And understandably, neither Clemson nor Alabama wants to add a road game, regardless of the profile.

Enter the GeorgiaDome, which has been actively recruiting neutral sites games.

Clemson would prefer to have seven home games annually for financial reasons and has worked off those expected returns in budgeting future items.

Yet Phillips said a one-time venture would not dramatically alter their plans enough to avoid the potential marquee matchup.

The Tigers have not played Alabama since 1975.

Clemson lost running backs coach Burton Burns to the Crimson Tide during the spring, and new Tide coach Nick Saban offered jobs to offensive coordinator Rob Spence and receiver coach Dabo Swinney, both of whom declined.

Adding Alabama to the schedule would give the Tigers six different regular-season SEC opponents in the coming nine years.

In addition to the annual South Carolina game, they face Auburn in 2010 and 2011, Vanderbilt in 2012 and 2013, Georgia in 2013 and 2014 and Ole Miss in 2015 and 2016.