When the 2020 college football schedule was announced, fans immediately circled the battle between the USC Trojans and Alabama Crimson Tide as a "must-watch." Now that matchup will not be taking place, at least according to Fox Sports 1's Colin Cowherd. He said that the game would not be taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The longtime radio host tweeted out this unconfirmed news on Tuesday. He said that the strict stay-at-home order in California would keep USC's players from hitting the practice field. He said that the cancellation is not official, but that it is "understood." The highly-anticipated game is s Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas.
"Told by two people I trust — USC v Alabama isn't happening. Trojans can't even practice in L.A. potentially for several months. This is why Bama already talking to other possible opponents. Not official but understood. Feeling now that Pac 12 football in spring — much more likely," Cowherd wrote.
While the radio host says that the game will not be happening, USC's athletic director is trying to shut down that report. Mike Bohn released a statement on Tuesday saying that the Trojans "have every intention" of facing off with the Crimson Tide. They are currently examining every possibility for the upcoming season.
"I enjoy regular conversations with @Greg_Byrne. We have every intention of playing our game against Alabama. I'd like to remind all our fans that this is an uncertain time, and there will be much disinformation. We continue to explore every model for the 2020 football season," Bohn tweeted. He also said that the school would communicate "relevant updates" when they have them.
Greg Byrne, Alabama's athletic director, also expressed optimism about the upcoming matchup. He retweeted Bohn's statement and said that the plan is to play the Trojans. TMZ reports that Alabama is examining other options for the opening game, but the two athletic directors are reiterating that their teams will face off.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday that the stay-at-home order would "with all certainty" be extended the next three months. This will keep Southern California residents at home through at least July. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti also agreed with Ferrer's comments and said that the orders would be gradually adjusted in the coming months to allow for more activities and businesses to operate.
The status of the USC-Alabama game will likely depend on California's restrictions and whether or not the players can return to practice. Cowherd says that the matchup will not be taking place, but the athletic directors do not agree. They are still planning for this battle between two top Division I teams.