An extra gratifying pregame environment at one of university football’s hallowed grounds required a closing of the eyes with Alabama’s fabled Bryant-Denny Stadium in undeniable sight.

A reopening of the eyes (an eventual ought to for a stroll to the stadium) on a stunning Saturday afternoon, however, printed three semi-bored fraternity brothers striking out on the home’s front porch, and little else pulsating in the massive, lush front yard normally crammed with chirpy college students prior to a kickoff.

Two hours later Alabama, winner of 5 countrywide titles for the reason that 2009, finally hosted its first soccer sport at some point of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the No. 2 Crimson Tide silenced No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24.

“I’ve been involved with some of the pics I saw over the weekend, whether that will enable us to play football,” Sankey said in mid-August. “That has to be on everyone’s thinking and the circumstances round the virus will be what publications us going forward.”

The SEC did now not begin play until Sept. 26 and Sankey’s three-week extend – determined long before the birthday party snap shots emerged – has paid off to date, with all the scheduled games over the two weekends being played.

As A&M followers determined out a week prior in the Aggies’ season opener at Kyle Field, a 17-12 victory over Vanderbilt, the new socially-distanced placing in the SEC required some getting used to for the Alabama faithful.

“I’m absolutely confused,” one Crimson Tide fan grew to become and said to any other as he glanced round for the excellent entrance.

Alabama fans finally figured it out, however, and the ones on hand appeared spaced correctly in the course of the expansive stadium. Meantime idolized instruct Nick Saban, whose statue already graces the stadium’s Walk of Champions along with four different title-winning coaches, moved to 20-0 towards his former assistants, this time Jimbo Fisher for a fourth time.

None of the other 19 games, however, got here earlier than such a sparse gathering – scarce via graph and a putting that so a ways is keeping up for a effective league intent on squeezing in 10 regular-season games for its 14 programs.

And about 20,000 fans left the stadium blissful – and in lots much less traffic for the experience home.