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Future Alabama-USC game in the offing?

Alabama USC

Depending how factors on a few fronts shake out, two of the most storied football programs in the history of college football could meet on the gridiron for the first time in over three decades.  Maybe.  Possibly.

A USC official confirmed to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News that discussions have taken place regarding a future neutral site game against Alabama.  Specifically, there have been talks about the Tide and the Trojans opening the 2016 season at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

The two programs last met in the Aloha Bowl following the 1985 season and first met in 1938.  All told, the Tide and the Trojans have squared off seven times — the former owns a 5-2 edge — including the historic meeting in 1970 “in which John McKay’s visiting Trojans, with their all-black starting backfield, pounded Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant’s all-white Crimson Tide 42-21.”  That game, the story goes, forever changed Alabama football.

Adding further intrigue would be Lane Kiffin, who was fired as USC’s head coach a month into the 2013 season and then hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator a few months later.  And, yes, I would be just as giddy about such a game as I was when Kiffin was hired by Nick Saban.

There are, however, several hurdles that need to be navigated before such a clash of iconic brands could take place.

“We often get approached about scheduling opportunities,” the spokesperson told the News. “We have been approached about doing this game and we are looking at it, but there are a number of real challenges to scheduling this game. For instance, our 2016 schedule is full. We also need to evaluate the financial ramifications. At the end of the day, that could be an issue.”

For his part, Saban would only talk in scheduling generalities when asked about the potential matchup.

“We’re always looking, but not anything I can share with you right now,” the coach said according to the Anniston Star. “I don’t think we want to create speculation. We’re playing Wisconsin in Dallas the next year (2015 opener), and we were supposed to play Penn State in 2016. They bailed out on us, so we’re looking for an opponent to play somewhere in 2016 right now.

According to the excellent website, the Trojans, which play nine conference games in the Pac-12, only have two of its three non-conference games booked that year: the annual rivalry game with Notre Dame and the opener against New Mexico. Perhaps the third game has been finalized and not announced?

Regardless, there are no real scheduling issues on the Tide’s end as UA has yet to announce any of their four non-conference games that season. In September of last year, UA canceled a home-and-home series with Michigan State that was to begin in 2016.

As far as the financial ramifications go, owner Jerry Jones and his stadium will make sure each team is handsomely rewarded for giving up a home game.  In 2017, for instance, both Florida and Michigan will be paid in excess of $6 million for playing their opener at Cowboys Stadium.

(Photo credit: Showtime)

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25 Responses to “Future Alabama-USC game in the offing?”
  1. rsmeans says: May 15, 2014 8:09 AM

    John if you check the records it is the Tide who has won five games and USC 2. Alabama has won all of the games in California and USC has won all the games in Birmingham. The only Trojan victories were in Birmingham in 1969 and 1978.

  2. Romulus says: May 15, 2014 8:53 AM

    He said the former…meaning bama.

  3. irishdodger says: May 15, 2014 8:57 AM

    @Romulus: cut him some slack, he’s likely a Bama grad.

  4. rsmeans says: May 15, 2014 9:05 AM

    I know the difference in latter and former. After my comment John changed latter to former. Best in this case to refer to the teams by name because many people do not know the difference between former and latter. After all college football fans rarely have attended any university.

  5. xtremesportsmaniac says: May 15, 2014 9:05 AM

    First of all I don’t believe Scott Wolf has any sources at USC . CFBTalk is the only place that gives this guy any credit as a reporter, USC fans know this guy is full of it most of the time.

    It was actually the Dan Patrick show that got this rumor rolling yesterday and I hope and pray he is correct.

  6. overratedgators says: May 15, 2014 9:22 AM

    “Adding further intrigue would be Lane Kiffin, who was fired as USC’s head coach a month into the 2013 season and then hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator a few months later. ”

    Please. We all know Kiffin will either be fired or bail for another job long before then.

  7. cougar2424 says: May 15, 2014 9:58 AM

    @ irishdodger

    I doubt that kid has actually graduated from bama. There is a solid 60% chance he’s never even been to Tuscaloosa.

  8. 8to80texansblog says: May 15, 2014 10:20 AM

    Ratings on that game would be astronomical….

  9. addict2sport says: May 15, 2014 11:08 AM

    @xtreme You are 100% accurate on both points!

  10. floridacock says: May 15, 2014 11:37 AM

    The more competitive game would be USC East,

  11. Deb says: May 15, 2014 11:53 AM

    Hello, JT! Oh, I’d be thrilled to see the Tide and Trojans square off! Hope the two teams can make this happen. Also excited to hear Bama is set to open against Wisconsin in 2015. But a Tide/Trojan matchup would be a throwback to the days of Bear and John McKay. Just saw a great documentary on that 1970 game.

  12. Deb says: May 15, 2014 11:55 AM

    cougar2424, rsmeans has been around here for a while, so I doubt he or she is a kid. The only people posting kidlike comments are you and irishdodger. I’d suggest you grow up … but why ask the impossible?

  13. sullivan1009 says: May 15, 2014 1:27 PM

    Enough of these overblown neutral site games. What’s the point of traditional powerhouses playing in a sterile NFL palace? Both schools need to man up and make it a home-and-home series.

  14. asimonetti88 says: May 15, 2014 6:08 PM

    Would be a great game, but I’m skeptical seeing as Alabama doesn’t like to play real out of conference games! I really hope this happens! They had some real tough battles back in the day and it would be great to see two Pac-12 and SEC powers face off.

  15. dcroz says: May 15, 2014 8:59 PM

    sullivan1009: The point is that it is much easier to schedule a one-year, neutral site game than it is a home-and-home series over two seasons, especially when both teams are guaranteed a large payout and you have Disney behind it. The neutral site game usually draws more attention as a season-opener, and since these games are usually played in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, or New York, you get far more for your recruiting buck playing in the heart of prime recruiting ground than you do at your home stadium. With a home-and-home series, you have to come up with not one but two dates that are mutually agreeable, you have to agree on which team will host which year, and the visiting team gets no payout for coming since they keep all the proceeds when they are the home team, which makes for a great balance sheet one season but a down one for the other. These games are becoming the trend rather than the exception, and expect more scheduling like this over the coming years.

  16. dcroz says: May 15, 2014 9:04 PM

    asimonetti88: Yeah, you’re right. ‘Bama doesn’t play any real non-conference games. Let’s see:

    2007: Florida State in Jacksonville
    2008: Clemson in Atlanta
    2009: Virginia Tech in Atlanta
    2010: Penn State in Tuscaloosa
    2011: Penn State in Happy Valley
    2012: Michigan in Dallas
    2013: Virginia Tech in Atlanta
    2014: West Virginia in Atlanta
    2015: Wisconsin in Dallas

    Gee, has anyone even heard of these teams?

  17. Professor Fate says: May 15, 2014 9:26 PM

    asimonetti was likely referring to the number of FCS teams Alabama invites every year for a beatdown. But, hey, one decent FBS team each year ain’t bad. And one of ’em not even in the south!

  18. Professor Fate says: May 15, 2014 9:42 PM

    I agree with sullivan. If it isn’t a home-and-home you aren’t doing your fanbase any favors, just looking for a fat payday.

    This would really be a Alabama home game anyway. Tuscaloosa is eight driving hours from Dallas. From L.A. it’s two days (20 hours if you can stay awake).

    USC already has a decent strength-of-schedule component. Pat Haden should hold out for a home-and-home or nothing. Reading all the comments on here about how the PAC12 is second-rate to the mighty SEC, why would any of those SEC fans want this? Wouldn’t it be easier to just pay another FCS school you can pound on at home?

    Alabama canceled a home-and-home with Michigan State due to “uncertainty regarding the future conference schedule” despite having no other non-conference games scheduled at the time. Oh, and the conference stuck with eight conference games, a surprise to no one. A bit hypocritical of Saban to note Penn State “bailed out on us.”

    What, exactly, would the benefit of this game be for USC? If it gets scheduled it will be about money, nothing more. It isn’t like ESPN will drop Alabama in its poll if it were to lose.

  19. scbaby2013 says: May 15, 2014 10:57 PM

    Fight on Trojans!!!! Would be awesome when the Trojans could
    Finally recruit the max amount of players…thank u Paul dee -hope your rotting in hell.

  20. packerbadger says: May 16, 2014 8:41 AM

    One team received the death penalty and the other should. Makes sense to me.

  21. packerbadger says: May 16, 2014 8:46 AM

    irishdodger says:May 15, 2014 8:57 AM

    @Romulus: cut him some slack, he’s likely a Bama grad.
    “Graduating” from Alabumpkin’ is like getting your GED…

  22. dcroz says: May 18, 2014 11:28 AM


    And getting your GED in Alabama is still better than leaving the warm, beautiful South to return to that miserable, frozen tundra called Wisconsin.

  23. packerbadger says: May 19, 2014 10:26 AM

    HAHAHAHA @ dcroz! No, Alabumpkin’ is a kraphole. State is dead last or second to last in education. You have hundreds of miles of oil soaked beaches and god knows what else thats left over from Katrina. Your state really doesn’t offer anything of value that I can tell.
    Wisconsin is FIRST in education and the three top revenue producers are Agriculture, Industry and Tourism. Wisconsin’s state motto is “Forward”. Yours is “Backwards”…
    If BillyBobs mom is Aunt Flo and his diddy is Uncle Joe….guess where BillyBob is from? lol!

  24. weegiethompson says: May 19, 2014 4:47 PM

    @ Packerbadger

    Then keep your yankee @ss up north with your piss yellow and puke green team. I’m tired of seeing your rude @sses down here on our beaches. We don’t come up there to vacation, so stay outta the south.

    Go Steelers and Roll Tide!!!

  25. packerbadger says: May 21, 2014 2:05 PM

    Most of the people down there haven’t been out of their own county. I’m not surprised one bit that they don’t come up here. Btw, our Green and Gold team has won more world football championships than any other team. Glad we beat the krap out of your Refereelers in the Super Bowl. Our beaches are much cleaner than your oil soaked beaches.

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