Alabama Enters the Stadium Wars...via Penn State

Mike PettiganoCorrespondent IMay 8, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 02:  A detailed picture of the 'Roll Tide' on the instruments of the Alabama Crimson Tide band before the Crimson Tide football team takes on the Utah Utes during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By now Penn State is used to the annual, if not fully year-round, battle over which school has the best stadium in college football.

While the Nittany Lions usually win the battles, war never ends. PSU fans are familiar with the regulars in this war of seating capacity, scenery, and atmosphere.

Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Oregon, and a few others are well known for having great college football stadiums. But one school that's not usually involved is Alabama, mainly due to its one-trick pony, Bear Bryant.

That's all anyone thinks about when discussing the Crimson Tide, and their Bryant-Denny Stadium rarely breaks into the discussion as a top stadium.

That could all change when Penn State travels to Tuscaloosa in 2010.

"Construction continues at a brisk pace on Bryant-Denny Stadium, and all indications are pointed in a positive direction for us having the finishing touches completed before we host Penn State in 2010," UA Athletic Director Mal Moore said. "When completed, we will have more than 100,000 seats and arguably the most aesthetically attractive stadium in all of college football."

Alabama was within two games of the BCS Championship Game last season. They have a headliner of a coach and enough tradition to suffice any number of schools combined.

But what has been missing from the Tide's impressive resume? A nationally revered football stadium.

The process sort of got its start when coach Nick Saban made his debut in Alabama's spring game a few years ago—to a capacity crowd—sparking headlines across the college football nation.

But later that season, the Tide lost a string of bad games, including the unthinkable L to Louisiana-Monroe. Any attention Bryant-Denny gained from the spring game was completely lost during the regular season. 

Now Moore wants to get that train back on the main line. There's frankly no better way to do so than open 2010 with the team that can boast the largest stadium in the U.S. 

There was some confusion about the implication that Penn State would be Alabama's target game for the final construction in 2010, as the date hasn't been changed from Sept. 11, the second game in the Tide's schedule.

I don't think Penn State would be willing to move around its schedule just so Alabama can be more flashy. 

So I guess that kind of takes away from the mystique of the new Bryant-Denny's "grand opening."

Don't let that fool anyone.

You can bet your ass that GameDay will be there with all the bells and whistles, and about 10 hours of Bear Bryant-Joe Paterno segments. 

Alabama wants this game to be a really, really big deal. Not that it needed much help, but this definitely won't hurt.