Blake James hopeful for full crowd for Miami football opener versus Alabama

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 25: (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 25: (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program will play its biggest season opener in recent memory when they play Alabama in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on September 6. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Miami athletic director Blake James hopes a full crowd will be present.

This is the third time in the last four seasons that the Miami football team is participating in one of the kickoff games. Miami began the 2019 season with a 24-20 loss to Florida in Orlando. Alabama frequently plays in the kickoff games with their last appearance in a 42-3 victory over ACC Coastal Division rival Duke in 2019.

Miami played in front of a limit of about 13,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium in 2020. Alabama was allowed to have 20 percent of the 101,821 capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2020. Alabama and Miami last played in the 1993 Sugar Bowl when the Crimson Tide defeated the Hurricanes to win the National Championship.

Alabama leads the all-time series with Miami 14-3. The Hurricanes won the prior meeting to 1993 defeating the Crimson Tide 33-25 in the 1990 Sugar Bowl to win their third National Championship in seven seasons. The other two Miami victories over Alabama came at home in 1954 and ’55.

"“I’m encouraged, with the further distribution of the vaccine and in people taking the steps that need to be taken, that we’ll be able to open up in Atlanta with, I’m going to hope for, a full crowd and that’s the same opportunity that we’ll have back here in Miami…but I think it’s too early on to make a real prediction.”"

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff is played annually at Mercedes Benz Stadium but was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 virus. In addition to Miami playing in the Camping World Kickoff Game in 2019 in Orlando, Miami began the 2018 season with a 33-17 loss to LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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Alabama versus Miami is one of the two marquee games of the opening weekend. Clemson and Georgia begin the season against each other in Charlotte. The Crimson Tide and Tigers should be expected to be the top two in the 2021 preseason rankings. Alabama and Clemson have combined for five of the last six National Championships.