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Alabama and USC to meet in 2016 Cowboys Classic

NCAA Football: Cowboys Classic-Louisiana State vs Texas Christian

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Aug 31, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; A general view of AT&T Stadium with tailgaters prior to LSU Tigers playing against Texas Christian in the Cowboys Classic. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

This will be fun.

It was announced Wednesday that Alabama and Southern California will square off to kick off the 2016 season with a neutral site game. The game will be played as a part of the eighth annual Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on September 3.

It will be the first regular season matchup between the two storied programs since 1978, a year when both teams shared the national title. The last overall matchup between the Crimson Tide and Trojans was the 1985 Aloha Bowl, a 24-3 Alabama win.

Alabama has played five neutral site games, winning four, since Nick Saban took over and will open its 2014 campaign in Atlanta against West Virginia. The Tide will also open its 2015 season against Wisconsin in Arlington.

The Trojans originally had a home date scheduled with New Mexico on that date, but that game has been switched to September 19, 2020.

“We are excited to participate in a game that is such an attractive matchup for the nation’s fans,” said new USC head coach Steve Sarkisian in a 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.”

Sarkisian is referring to the 1970 matchup between USC and Alabama that has been “credited with helping to integrate Southern football” when USC and its all-black backfield knocked off the all-white Alabama team, 42-21.

September 3, 2016 has the makings of a fantastic day of college football in the state of Texas. In addition to the Alabama-USC matchup, Notre Dame will face Texas in Austin and UCLA will travel to face Texas A&M in College Station. How’s that for an opening weekend?

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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