Maybe it was the loss to Clemson. Or more likely, CBS saw a rare opportunity to put another of college football's marquee teams on its prime time schedule. But when Alabama plays its annual match-up with LSU, the network won't be showing it in prime time. It will likely snap a streak of continuous prime time broadcasts for this rivalry dating back to 2011.
CBS just announced its broadcast times for the season, even though they haven't determined most of the games they'll air in those time slots. But the CBS game times alone have shown that Alabama-LSU is likely not going to air in prime time. Alabama is playing LSU on November 9th, and CBS is permitted to air just one prime time game from the SEC each season. For 2019, CBS has decided to air their prime time match-up on September 21st -- not on November 9th when LSU-Alabama happens. And that likely means a huge non-conference game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame.
In fact, a lot of people are talking about Georgia-Notre Dame in prime time as if it's already been announced. Same with Alabama-LSU, claiming it's a daytime game. Neither of those game times are certain, though, even if both are likely.
CBS could decide to pick another game for prime time on September 21st, but they'd be crazy to do so. Georgia-Notre Dame is too big a match-up for CBS to put on Saturday afternoon, or worse, let ESPN take it. They get the first choice of games each week, and I'm virtually certain the schedulers at CBS are seeing what we're seeing. Meanwhile, there is still a scenario in which Alabama plays LSU in prime time; but it would mean CBS decides NOT to pick up the game for its regular 2:30 slot on November 9th. That would allow ESPN to get its hands on what is usually one of the most anticipated games of the college football season. We'll all be surprised if they do that.
So officially, nothing's confirmed. But it's safe to make plans for at least two Alabama games. Alabama vs South Carolina is confirmed for CBS on Saturday, September 14th. While Alabama vs LSU is nearly a lock for Saturday, November 9th at 2:30PM.
And isn't it nice that we're starting to get close enough to the football season that we can actually talk game times? Just 101 days to the opening Saturday of the season...