Alabama clashing with USC is expected to be one of the nonconference highlights of the 2020 campaign. The coronavirus pandemic, though, may change that.
Alabama is scheduled to square off with USC on Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium Arlington. It would serve as the season opener for both.
However, the state of Alabama is much further along than the state of California when it comes to loosening the stay-at-home restrictions. Which could very well hamper the football programs in the Golden State in preparing for the upcoming season.
According to ESPN college football personality Paul Finebaum, Alabama is already in talks with TCU about replacing USC in that Sept. 5 opener. TCU is in somewhat of a similar predicament as Alabama as the Big 12 school is slated to open the season at Berkeley against Cal the same day.
It’s going to come down to the five Power 5 commissioners. Those are the men who will sit at the table and decide, and one thing very interesting about this, there’s already scrambling going on. Alabama plays Southern Cal in the first game of the season at Jerry’s World, there’s already talk going on between Alabama and TCU about meeting instead of the other two because TCU plays at Berkeley and the California schools, they do not believe, will be available for that date.
Coincidentally or not, Los Angeles County officials late Tuesday morning announced that they are recommending the stay-at-home order currently in place be extended another three months. That timeline would mean the order would remain in effect through the middle of August. Or, roughly three weeks before Alabama and USC are scheduled to open the 2020 season. It’s a near-universal opinion that football programs will need a minimum of six weeks to get their players ready to safely start a new season.
Another sign? A Div. II conference in California has suspended its entire fall sports season.
Suffice to say, the above is at least part of the reason why Alabama is looking at options beyond USC. And why TCU is willing to listen.
Alabama and TCU, incidentally, have met five times previously. The most recent matchup was back in 1975. The Horned Frogs won the first three meetings, the Crimson Tide the last two.