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Western Michigan to play USC in 2017

David Goricki The Detroit News

Give Western Michigan alum and billionaire Alec Gores a big assist for helping put together the Broncos' Sept. 2, 2017 football game with Southern Cal in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Gores, the older brother of Pistons owner Tom Gores, met with USC president C.L. Max Nikias and athletic director Pat Haden for dinner to get things started about a possible game with WMU.

The final contract was signed by WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard and Haden in Gores' home in Beverly Hills, California, with Broncos head coach P.J. Fleck and WMU president John Dunn looking on. It will mark the first time USC has played a Mid-American Conference team.

"Being a lifetime Bronco, one of my memorable moments was when Alec reached out to Western Michigan after not being connected with the university for many years," Beauregard said. "He felt so much pride for his experience with the team and wanted to reconnect with WMU. With the initiation of this game we look forward to build upon many more opportunities together.

"We owe a special thanks to Alec for putting us together with President Nikias and AD Haden."

"The biggest accomplishments require the greatest risk," said Gores in a statement. "I took the risk in calling Kathy Beauregard and initiating contact to help in any way to make this game possible. I'm extremely proud of my degree from Western Michigan and my time with the football program. There is no better way to show my pride for WMU than helping arrange this game."

Gores was a member of the Broncos' football team in 1974 and '75.

The Broncos had one of the nation's best turnarounds this past fall, going from 1-11 in Fleck's first year as head coach in 2013 to 8-5 and a bowl appearance to earn Fleck MAC coach of the year honors.

WMU will open the 2015 season on Friday of Labor Day weekend when it hosts Michigan State at Waldo Stadium before playing at defending national champion Ohio State in Week 3.