Horns, Aggies, Tide, Trojans part of 2016 college football blockbuster

Austin American-StatesmanJuly 16, 2014 

— Make sure your remote - or your DVR - is ready.

College football is preparing to showcase a blockbuster trio of games on the same day in 2016, with all three taking place in Texas.

Adding to an already powerhouse schedule on Saturday, Sept. 3, Alabama and Southern Cal announced Wednesday that they will meet at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. That game now joins Notre Dame-Texas at Royal-Memorial Stadium and UCLA-Texas A&M at Kyle Field to provide a seismic event during the opening weekend of college football.

It's possible network execs may huddle with the hope of creating a Thursday-Friday-Saturday extravaganza, but for now, it's unknown which networks will carry which of the three games. Kickoff times are a mystery, too.

The Longhorns' game against the Irish will continue a four-game, home-and-home series against Notre Dame. The series kicks off in South Bend, Ind., in 2015, and concludes there in 2020 after a matchup in Austin in 2019.

By adding the nonconference game against USC, Alabama adheres to the new mandate from the SEC league office to schedule at least one non-conference game against a Big Five conference opponent starting in 2016.

Last summer, Alabama canceled a previously scheduled home-and-home series against Michigan State set for 2016-17. Tide athletic director Bill Battle said at the time that the move arose from "the uncertainty of conference football schedules in those years." However, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he tried and failed to persuade the Spartans to move the game to a neutral site.

An interesting subplot to the Alabama-USC game could be the presence of Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who was fired by the Trojans at midseason last fall.

In other news out of SEC media days:

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, unveiled some mock scenarios for future playoffs, and curiously, he had Texas ranked no higher than 23rd in any of them. Hancock also said the No. 1-seeded team will earn the right to play in the closest proximity to its campus. He added that the four teams each will be obligated to pay for 12,500 tickets to the semifinals, and the two finalists each will be responsible for selling 20,000 tickets to their matchup.

ESPN senior vice president Justin Connolly said the SEC Network, which makes its debut Aug. 14, will show 45 SEC football games, with tripleheaders every Saturday. The network will be available in 25 million homes. He said commentator Tim Tebow will be featured on the two-hour pre-game show, but network officials didn't bring him to Hoover, Ala. "If we brought him everywhere he's requested, he'd never sleep," Connolly said.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel expressed mild surprise that Texas A&M wasn't named the Tigers' permanent rival in place of Arkansas. The decision means Missouri will play at College Station this fall and then won't play the Aggies again until 2021. "We played them for a long, long time obviously in the Big 12," Pinkel said. "Our rival game is Arkansas, which is going to be a great fit for us also."

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