By firstname.lastname@example.org (Elliott Propes)
There isn’t much time left until No. 1 Alabama takes the field against No. 20 Southern Cal in Arlington, Texas. The players are excited and anticipate a great matchup against a ranked opponent.
“We’ve had a long, long offseason and it just feels great to have a couple days left until the game,” wide receiver ArDarius Stewart said. “Because we get to show what we have been working on.”
This will be Alabama’s fifth straight neutral-site opener against a non-conference opponent on Saturday. This game will mark the seventh time Alabama has played such a game in any week of the regular season under coach Nick Saban.
“I always go back to when we played Clemson, we weren’t even ranked,” Saban said. “They were ninth in the country and we beat them over there in Atlanta. That sort of ignited the whole program in terms of the exposure that was got and all those type of things. They enjoy the competition of playing against a great opponent. So I’m sure this will be a tough, physical game for us and wherever we play it, we have to get ready for a challenge.”
Saban said the neutral-site openers are a business decision, considering home-and-home games would result in loss of revenue every other season.
“Well, I’d rather play here in Tuscaloosa,” Saban said. “You think I like playing in Dallas better than playing in Tuscaloosa? The issue is getting people to play you in Tuscaloosa that are quality opponents.”
Not only is it about the money, Saban also said it came down to exposure. Last year, the Alabama vs. Wisconsin game received the second highest TV rating of a 7.9 on opening weekend.
“This is a business decision but it’s also a program decision in the tremendous amount of exposure,” Saban said. “When you play a quality opponent like USC that has great tradition, has a very good team, a top-20 team. There’s a lot of national exposure the program gets.”
That being said, the football team is just excited to be back on the field, regardless of the location — California, Alabama or Texas.
“It doesn’t matter where we play at,” Steward said. “I just want to play.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports