USC Rejects Moving Arkansas Season Opener

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' season opener with the University of Southern California will remain on Saturday, Sept. 2, after USC officials decided against moving the nationally televised football game back a day.

USC looked into the possibility of rescheduling the game for Sunday, Sept. 3, but the school informed Arkansas and ESPN last week of its decision to keep the season opener in Reynolds Razorback Stadium on a Saturday, according to a release on USC's athletic Web site.

"There was some discussion about moving the game," USC spokesperson Tim Tessalone said Wednesday. "It just wasn't really feasible to move it."

Tessalone said the Trojans decided against moving the game to Sunday because it was too "late in the process" to begin talking about changing plans.

The announcement shouldn't come as a surprise to Arkansas officials, who had suspected for some time that USC was reluctant to reschedule the game. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said last week that he didn't think USC wanted to change the date of the game.

More than a month ago, ESPN approached Arkansas and USC about possibly moving the game from Saturday to Sunday so that it could get more exposure and higher ratings. Since there are no NFL games scheduled for Sept. 3, the meeting between the Razorbacks and Trojans would have drawn a large national TV audience.

Still, Nutt initially turned down ESPN's offer. But he said he changed his mind after the network promised to televise Arkansas' Red-White spring game on April 15, as well as two additional regular-season games.

But USC and its fans have been against the idea since the beginning. On a poll posted recently on the school's official athletic Web site, Trojans fans voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the season opener with Arkansas on a Saturday.

Despite USC's decision to not move the game, Nutt has said ESPN will still televise two of his team's games, and the Red-White spring game was shown on tape delay on ESPNU.

"Now, the way things are (since) we got everything, I'd just as soon play on Saturday," Nutt said last week.

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