LOS ANGELES — USC and Alabama have formalized a deal that had been in the works for weeks. The college football power programs will kick off the 2016 season with a Sept. 3 neutral-site game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
"We are excited to participate in a game that is such an attractive matchup for the nation's fans," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement on the school's website. "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."
Sarkisian was referring to the Trojans' 42-21 win in Birmingham, Ala., led by three African-Americans, fullback Sam Cunningham, quarterback Jimmy Jones and tailback Clarence Davis. The game is credited with helping to integrate football in the South.
Alabama leads the series between the teams, 5-2. The schools split the national title in 1978 even though USC defeated Alabama, 24-14.
USC is 21-11-1 against the Southeastern Conference.
USC and Alabama claim a combined 26 national titles - 15 for Alabama, 11 for USC - 66 bowl victories and seven Heisman Trophy winners.
And, for another intriguing story line there is this: Lane Kiffin, who was fired as coach by USC during the middle of the night after a loss last season, is Alabama's offensive coordinator.