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The football program at University of Louisiana Monroe would not be considered a "powerhouse". They certainly aren't a strong program nationally, and to be honest, they're probably not even one of the top 5 programs in the state. So why would a program like that choose to head to Tuscaloosa for a showdown with the Crimson Tide when they're ranked #2 in the nation?

Louisiana-Monroe v Alabama
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Well, the answer is money. Lots and lots of money. The kind of money that can buy a program like ULM a whole new weight room. No joke, that's what ULM Head Football Coach Terry Bowden said.

“Team morale is the most important thing you deal with, not losing your confidence when you go to some of these games. They (the players) don’t know this, but Alabama just built us a weight room today by playing us. So there’s some good that came out of this game.”

Saturday's 63-7 Alabama win over ULM was a big loss on the field for the ULM program, but a $1.915 million win for them off the field. The University of Alabama paid ULM nearly $2 million to bring them to Bryant-Denny Stadium for this game. Something ULM is actually pretty familiar with. Last season the ULM program made $3.33 million in contractual pay outs from programs to travel to games. That included trips to Kentucky and LSU.

Louisiana-Monroe v Alabama
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

But just because ULM doesn't have a dominant program, it doesn't mean they can't take the money and win too. Because that has happened before as well. Even between these two programs.

Back in 2007, one of the worst losses of Nick Saban's career was handed to him at home, when ULM went into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama 21-14. They got paid for that game too.

That same year, the 2007 season, was opened with one of the craziest upsets in college football history. Before Appalachian State was hosting ESPN's College Gameday, they weren't even a NCAA D1 Bowl Division program when they walked into Ann Arbor, Michigan to start the season. That afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines were ranked #5 in the nation, and expected to walk through the lesser opponent. But App State started their rise to greatness that day. Beating the Wolverines on their own field inside the Big House.

Now, App State is a full on Bowl Division team, with a streak of 7 straight Bowl Games (winning 6 of the 7 bowls). But back in 2007, they cashed a $400,000 check (worth almost $600k today) to beat Michigan.

Maybe this fat check from Alabama can help ULM turn their program into something as successful as App State built after Michigan.

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