The USC Trojans spiced up the 2016 college football season when the team announced via Twitter that it will play Alabama in the annual Cowboy Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) July 16, 2014
It also added to the Trojans’ long standing tradition of fielding tough non-conference opponents. In addition to facing Notre Dame every year, USC has had schools like Ohio State, Auburn, Nebraska and Penn State on its schedule in the last 15 years.
Originally scheduled to host New Mexico that weekend, head coach Steve Sarkisian didn’t think twice about moving the matchup to 2020.
“We are excited to participate in a game that is such an attractive matchup for the nation’s fans,” Sarkisian said in a school press release. “The 2016 Cowboys Classic not only brings together two of college football’s most tradition-laden and successful programs, but teams that in 1970 played a significant role in shaping the history of the game.”
USC and Alabama, though both storied college football programs, haven’t crossed paths in some time. They last met in 1985, a 24-3 Aloha Bowl victory for the Crimson Tide. The Tide own a 5-2 series advantage over the Trojans. You have to go back to 1978 to find the Trojans’ last win in this series, a year the two schools split the national championship.
This game also marks the first time the Trojans face an SEC opponent since dismantling Arkansas 50-14 in 2006
The neutral-site season opener has been a tradition since 2009, featuring two ranked teams on Labor Day Weekend. This year’s Classic features Florida State and Oklahoma State with Alabama taking on Wisconsin in 2015.
Pac-12 teams have participated in the Cowboy Classic twice, but the conference remains without a victory. Oregon State fell to TCU in 2010 and Oregon lost to LSU the following year.