The most anticipated USC season opener in a decade will pit the 10-point underdog Trojans against defending national champion Alabama in prime time. The neutral site game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas now has an official kickoff time.
The Sept. 3 matchup between two of college football’s historic powerhouses is slated to start at 5 p.m. PT (7 p.m. CT) and will be nationally televised on ABC.
Tickets for the AdvoCare Classic event have been in high demand. USC has already sold its ticket allotment, but there will be some tickets available through the Dallas Cowboys, who are organizing the event, in mid-June.
Both schools have open quarterback competitions after spring practice. USC has depth concerns on their defensive line after Kenny Bigelow was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament during spring practice. Alabama’s offensive line is starting to have concerns as well, but it isn’t because of injuries.
Early Tuesday morning (2:33 a.m.), star left tackle Cam Robinson, along with defensive back Laurence 'Hootie' Jones, was arrested for possession of narcotics in his hometown of West Monroe, La., according to AL.com.
Robinson, an expected early first round 2017 NFL draft pick, also received a felony charge for illegally possessing a stolen gun. He has started since stepping on campus. He was a freshman All-American and All-SEC as a sophomore.
Alabama is no stranger to offseason arrests and suspensions. The Crimson Tide infamously had three players arrested in four days last March. Of course, an arrest and/or an announced suspension doesn’t guarantee a player will actually have to sit out any games. Players have often worked their way back into head coach Nick Saban’s good graces.
In 2014, Altee Tenpenny, Kenyan Drake, and Dillon Lee were all arrested in the offseason and after the first fall practice Saban announced Brandon Ivory, Jarran Reed and Tim Williams would be suspended for the season opener against West Virginia. Five of the six players participated in the game.
A potential replacement option for Robinson, if he is punished and misses the season opener, is already gone. Five-star junior college transfer Charles Baldwin was dismissed from the program last week. Baldwin was expected to compete for the starting right tackle spot, but appeared to be behind Folsom (Calif.) true freshman Jonah Williams after spring practice.
Jones has played sparingly in two seasons, but any potential suspension could be another blow to the Alabama secondary. Former five-star recruit Tony Brown was sent home before Alabama’s semifinal matchup with Michigan State for a violation of team rules and is facing an indefinite suspension from the NCAA, per the Tuscaloosa News.
USC is 2-5 all-time against Alabama, but the two teams haven’t played since 1985.
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