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Scarlet versus Crimson: Arkansas State to battle Alabama in 2018

This week, it was announced that the Arkansas State Red Wolves would play the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2018. Oh, and that the Red Wolves would collect a school record $1.7M for the effort.

The Red Wolves challenge Emperor Saban and his Crimson Tide in 2018
The Red Wolves challenge Emperor Saban and his Crimson Tide in 2018
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

A sardonic observer might view Arkansas State's $1.7M deal game with Alabama as a blatant money grab. Who cares? The Crimson Tide athletic department reported a $33M surplus in 2014, so it can afford to foot some of the costs uniquely associated with playing a perennial national title contender (i.e. bandages).

The Red Wolves have battled Alabama twice before, with the legendary Larry Lacewell losing to the mythical Bear Bryant in 1982 (34-7) and a freshly anointed Nick Saban crushing Steve Roberts in 2008 (35-0).

The $1,700,000.00 payout is another of a number of big paydays for the Red Wolves, who will collect $1.65M from Nebraska in 2017 and $1.3M from Auburn in 2016. The program also cashed in $1.3M from USC in 2015. Arkansas State has done well to sign big home-at-home contracts of late (Missouri in 2015, Miami in 2017), but it does not appear that we'll see the 2016 National Champions in Jonesboro any time soon.

Arkansas State has now filled three of four non-conference openings in 2018, with the Red Wolves traveling to Tulsa, and UNLV coming to Jonesboro for the season opener.

Update

The first A-State vs. Alabama game brought two legends together.

It appears that the Red Wolves are already turned up the intensity for the Crimson Tide.