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December 26, 2012

Alabama to return to Cowboys Stadium

TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama will likely return to Arlington, Texas, in 2015 for its season opener in the Cowboys Classic, according to UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore.

UA's opponent is undetermined at this time.

Insider Report:

Get the very latest on Alabama's final recruiting push, including 5-star offensive line target Laremy Tunsil (left), with the Insider Report from Tidesports.com's Andrew Bone.

The annual game sets up a marquee non-conference game at the nation's most prolific football venue, Cowboys Stadium. In August, the Crimson Tide made its Cowboys Classic debut with a 41-14 win over Michigan.

Alabama's return to the venue would secure a marquee out-of-conference game for its future schedules through the year 2017. The Crimson Tide will play Virginia Tech in Atlanta's Georgia Dome in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic in 2013 and return to Atlanta to open the 2014 season against West Virginia. A 2015 game in Dallas would bridge a one-year gap before the Crimson Tide begins a two-year home-and-home series with Michigan State in 2016 and 2017.

"We've got all that coming again with Virginia Tech next year, the following year West Virginia. Then back to Dallas. It's exciting," Moore said. "I think the fans love it."

Last week, ESPN and the Dallas Cowboys extended their broadcast agreement on the game through the year 2024. Florida State and Oklahoma State will play in the 2014 game, while LSU and Texas Christian have reached an agreement to play in the 2013 game. Moore said he has come to prefer the one-time, neutral-site matchups to the more traditional two-year, home-and-home contracts.

"The one-game stand at a neutral site has been really good. You get 30,000, 35,000 tickets," Moore said. "When we played Penn State, it was 5,000. Of course, they got 5,000 when they came here. But it's just better with a neutral site."

Since UA coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, Alabama has compiled a 5-1 record in its top non-conference matchup of the season. UA lost to Florida State in 2007, but has since beaten Clemson, Virginia Tech, Penn State twice and Michigan in subsequent seasons.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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