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Eric Vander Voort | NCAA.com | February 7, 2017

When the 2016 season starts

  Alabama's first game in defense of its championship will be against USC on Sept. 3.

With the book closed on an exciting 2015 season in college football, let's look ahead to next season, which will start with a bang -- as well as in three different countries.

This past year wrapped up with Alabama beating Clemson 45-40 in a classic championship game for its fourth title in seven years. The Crimson Tide will get their 2016 season started at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against Southern California. And that's only one of several huge opening-weekend games to kickoff next season.

If you're in the United States, the season will officially begin on Friday, Aug. 26, although where the game will be played, it will be Saturday, Aug. 27.

The season opens with one FBS game that weekend, as California will face Hawaii at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. The game will kick off at 10 p.m. ET on Friday, or noon local on Saturday. This will be the first college football game in Sydney, and the first in Australia since 1987.

The following Thursday (Sept. 1) will be the more traditional start to the season, with 16 games on the slate, including an conference game as South Carolina visits Vanderbilt. There are 11 more games on Friday, Sept. 2, including Kansas State vs. Stanford and the Colorado-Colorado State rivalry.

Then, an abolute monster of an opening Saturday:

Alabama vs. Southern California (at AT&T Stadium)
LSU vs. Wisconsin (at Lambeau Field)
Oklahoma vs. Houston (at NRG Stadium)
Clemson vs. Auburn
North Carolina vs. Georgia (Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the Georgia Dome)
UCLA vs. Texas A&M
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech (in Dublin, Ireland)

Just to name a few. Click here for the full slate of games.

As if that wasn't enough, Notre Dame will play Texas on Sunday, Sept. 4, while Florida State and Ole Miss will wrap up the opening weekend at the Citrus Bowl on Monday, Sept. 5.

Hurry up, football season.

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