USC vs. Alabama in the Cowboys Classic Needs to Happen

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 15, 2014

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It's the offseason, which means it's time for athletic directors to start finalizing their future schedules.

According to Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, one possibility that's being tossed around is a neutral-site game between Alabama and USC to kick off the 2016 season in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas.

"Yeah, we're always looking," Nick Saban told reporters on Wednesday. "But not anything I can share with you right now. I don't think we want to create speculation."

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian
USC head coach Steve SarkisianStephen Dunn/Getty Images

This absolutely needs to happen.

It'd be better if the Trojans and Crimson Tide worked out a home-and-home series, because it'd be fantastic to see these two traditional college football powers in each other's stadiums. However, a neutral-site matchup will work just fine.

Imagine the possibilities.

Lane Kiffin could be entering his third season as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator, facing his old program against head coach and friend Steve Sarkisian, who will be entering his third season as the Trojans' head coach.

At that time, the Trojans won't be fully recovered from the scholarship restrictions that they've worked through since 2011, but they'll be close.

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Sarkisian was allowed to sign a full class of 25 in the most recent recruiting cycle, but George Schroeder of USA Today indicates the coach is limited to 75 scholarship players this season10 shy of the limit.

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian
USC head coach Steve SarkisianUSA TODAY Sports

In a perfect world, this game would be between two tradition-rich, national title contenders and dripping with personal storylines that would make it extra spicy.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanUSA TODAY Sports

But what are some other storylines that could arise?

Maybe these two meet in one of the first two College Football Playoffs, with this tilt serving as a revenge game and tone-setter for the 2016 national championships? What if Kiffin burns Alabama just like he has in previous stops, and the two fanbases unite in their disdain?

The possibilities are endless.

What could prevent this from happening?

Last June,'s Jon Solomon reported that Pac-12 teams can't play neutral-site games with out-of-conference teams unless the Pac-12 owns all media rights for the game.

It's doubtful that Alabama would agree to the game knowing that it could end up on the Pac-12 Network, and it also serves as a deterrent if any Pac-12 teams want to get involved in kickoff games against big-time out-of-conference opponents.

But rules are made to be brokenor at least amendedand in an evolving college football landscape, this one should be changed to give college football fans what they want.

Alabama vs. USC in JerryWorld to kick off the 2016 season needs to happen.

For everybody's sake.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.