Hell. Yes. Now we’re (officially) talking.
Of all the big non-conference matchups that have come down the pike over the past few months, this might be the biggest. And most anticipated.
In twin press releases, Alabama and USC announced that the two storied football programs will kick off the 2016 college football season Sept. 3 with a neutral site game. The game will be played at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex., in what by then will the eighth annual Cowboys Classic.
The announcement is not actually a surprise in that there was speculation a couple of months ago, but it’s still huge scheduling news.
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.
The 2016 appearance in the Cowboys Classic, incidentally, will mark the second consecutive appearance for Alabama in Arlington as the Tide is set to take on Wisconsin in the 2015 Classic. The Tide also opened the 2012 season against Michigan in Arlington.
Of course, there’s also a chance that the UA-USC game could feature the Trojans playing against their former head coach, although it seems somewhat doubtful that current Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will still be in Tuscaloosa two years from now. A man can dream, though. A man can dream.
(Photo credit: Showtime)
Auburn could be the beneficiary of an offensive transfer in the not-too-distant future, but the football program has apparently sustained a loss on the other side of the ball.
In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday, Justin Thomas-Thornton revealed that he will be “pursuing my collegiate football and academic endeavors elsewhere.” The defensive lineman gave no reason for his decision to leave The Plains.
Thomas-Thornton, a four-star 2014 signee, played in the 2015 opener against Louisville, but didn’t see any other action the remainder of the year.
If Thomas-Thornton opts for another FBS program, he will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then be left with two seasons of eligibility that he’d be able to use beginning in 2017.
Finally, a personnel attrition post on this late-June Sunday that doesn’t involve Baylor.
In mid-May, wide receiver Ryan Sousa announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer out of the Florida football program, and ultimately landed at FCS Southern Illinois. A little over six weeks later, a fellow Gator receiver has apparently made a similar decision, with Scout.com reporting that Alvin Bailey will leave Jim McElwain‘s squad.
No reason was given for the receiver’s decision, although the recruiting website has an idea as to why.
The Gators added five receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, three of which were on campus in the spring. Junior college transfer Dre Massey seemed to pull ahead of Bailey in the month long practices held between March and April.
The school has declined to address Bailey’s status with the football program.
Bailey was a four-star member of UF’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 22 receiver in the country. The production never quite matched the recruiting pedigree, though, with Bailey catching three passes for 49 years in his career in Gainesville. All of those stats came during the 2015 season.
Yep, another post revolving around a now-former Baylor football player.
One of five 2016 BU signees to receive a release from their National Letter of Intent, Kameron Martin took his first visit to a potential destination with a trip to Auburn Friday. In short order, he will take a visit to TCU as well.
“Probably Tuesday,” the running back told al.com, he will make a decision between the Tigers and Horned Frogs.
“(TCU) said I can be an impact player right away,” Martin told the website. “Auburn showed me a lot of love and treated me like family. That’s kind of what I like. I want to go somewhere where they treat me like family. … Auburn was about business, so we’ll see if TCU can show me a good time.”
A four-star 2016 signee according to 247Sports.com, the 5-10, 178-pound Johnson was rated as the No. 7 all-purpose back in the country; the No. 39 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 268 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.
As is the case with other 2016 Bears signees who have fled Waco, Johnson will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 whether he lands at Auburn or TCU.
“Baylor Attrition Day” here at CFT continues, although this one has nothing to do with a 2016 signee.
According to a report from Rivals.com affiliate SicEmSports, Chris Johnson has decided to leave Baylor and transfer into the Houston football program. The same website is reporting that the Bears gave the erstwhile quarterback a release from his scholarship.
Johnson will be graduating from BU this summer, thus making himself immediately eligible to play for the Cougars in 2016. Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Thanks to a rash of injuries at the position, Johnson started two games for the Bears at quarterback in 2015 before he too sustained an injury. He returned to start BU’s bowl win over North Carolina, but changed positions this spring and was listed as a wide receiver/tight end on his official BU profile. At least in the beginning, he’s expected to continue in a receiving role with the Cougars.