USC and Alabama reportedly mulling football game in 2016

USC versus SEC powerhouse Alabama in the 2016 season opener? Not so fast, Nick Saban and USC's Steve Sarkisian say nothing's official yet.
(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)

USC and Alabama, two traditional football powers who in 1970 played one of college football’s most historically significant games, may open the 2016 season against each other at AT&T Stadium in Texas.

“Nothing’s set in stone,” USC Coach Steve Sarkisian told The Times Wednesday in Newport Beach after he spoke at a luncheon for the Ronnie Lott Impact Trophy.

Dan Patrick first reported the possibility of the game Wednesday morning on his syndicated radio show, saying, “This was sent to me by somebody important at USC.”

Alabama Coach Nick Saban also said Wednesday nothing was official.

“Yeah, we’re always looking,” Saban told reporters prior to a round of golf with Rocco Mediate in the Regions Tradition pro-am at Shoal Creek. “But not anything I can share with you right now. I don’t think we want to create speculation.”


USC and Alabama have played seven times, with the Crimson Tide winning five. The schools have not met since the 1985 Aloha Bowl.

In 1970, USC defeated Alabama, 42-21, in Birmingham. A big game by USC star running back Sam Cunningham, an African American, has been credited with helping to integrate Southern football.

Sarkisian, entering his first year as USC coach, said at the luncheon the Trojans would continue to seek out the nation’s best teams in nonconference play.

“We’re always going to play the tough opponents,” he said.

Sarkisian said if the game against Alabama works out, “it’ll be a great day for college football. Hopefully it works out.”