SAN DIEGO — Labor Day weekend will take on a whole new meaning to the San Diego State football team in 1992, because the Aztecs finally have USC in that Saturday slot in their schedule.
The on-again, off-again matchup is definitely on, the Greater San Diego Sports Assn. promised Thursday, and officials from both schools said they couldn't be happier. The game will be played Sept. 5, 1992 in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
"We're delighted," said Fred Miller, SDSU athletic director. "Even with all of our problems, we think we're an upwardly mobile university, and it is essential for an upwardly mobile university to have this kind of competition."
SDSU's non-conference 1992 schedule now includes USC, UCLA and Miami.
"We're not gun-shy," Miller said. "We're going to expose a new segment of San Diego to Aztec football."
Mike Garrett, the former Heisman Trophy winner who is now USC associate athletic director in charge of football scheduling, said Thursday that the SDSU game will help the Trojans prepare for their next two games in 1992--at Oklahoma and at Washington.
"It's like having a home game even though it's away," Garrett said. "That's important, because we have a pretty tough schedule. San Diego State will be a very good game for us--it will help us get all the kinks out, it's not that far away and it will be a good test for us."
To schedule the game, SDSU arranged a three-way deal with Cal State Fullerton and Hawaii. The Aztecs dropped Cal State Fullerton from the Sept. 5 date, and Hawaii agreed to pick up the Titans on that day for a game in Honolulu.
As was originally the case, the game is being called the "September Holiday Classic" and the GSDSA will use the Holiday Bowl model for ticket sales and creating a bowl-type atmosphere.
"When it became apparent that the game would have to be played on Labor Day weekend, if at all, our Board of Directors thoroughly evaluated the situation and determined that the game has a great opportunity for success as a holiday weekend activity," GSDSA President Dirk Broekma said in a statement.
Said Miller: "I really think it's a win-win situation. It's exposure to the USC alums in this area, and being Labor Day, folks from LA can opt to come to San Diego for the weekend, which is good for our economy. And I think it gives us a chance to play as good a competition as you can find."
Al Luginbill, SDSU football coach, was happy to hear the news Thursday afternoon.
"Good," Luginbill said. "That's great.
"It's not like we haven't lined up against USC-caliber people. The BYUs, Oregons, and Miamis are all in that category. I'm looking forward to the ballgame. It's another step in the right direction. We respect USC, but we don't fear them."
Of course, this \o7 is\f7 another "agreement in principle"--no contract has been signed--and the SDSU-USC game had already reached one agreement . . .
Don't worry, said John Reid, GSDSA executive director. The contracts were faxed to the schools on Thursday.