In the latest phase of college football’s realignment, two LA-based schools from USC and UCLA make a bombastic move to the Big Ten Conference.
It’s a seismic shift, to say the least, that will forever change not only the face of college football but NCAA athletics itself in an ever-changing marketplace.
And while the move will have some impact on how fans have understood the sport for generations – not least the Rose Bowl game – we should also get some very entertaining on-field matchups from now on.
1. Ohio State vs. USC
All-time Football Series: USC, 13.10.1
Last meeting: Ohio State won 24-7
These two college football powerhouses didn’t often meet on the same field, but when they did, it was usually at the Rose Bowl.
But not since 1985, when the last four came in the regular season and the Buckeyes’ most recent win at the Cotton Bowl.
This led to a seven-game winning streak for USC dating back to 1975, and the Trojans hold the 4-3 advantage in Rose Bowl games. Now this matchup will be a regular season staple and greatly improve the quality of both schools’ schedules.
+ Ohio State ranks No. 1 in college football history with a win percentage of .731, compared to USC at No. 8 all-time (.695).
+ Both schools have played in 53 bowl games, their sixth-highest all-time, though USC holds the win percentage advantage in 6th overall with a .642 win mark, compared to Ohio State’s .491, which is 48th.
+ Ohio State is third all-time with 942 wins. USC is 10th with 856.
+ Ohio State ranks first all-time in the AP Top 25 poll with 950 weeks and second at 105 weeks. USC ranks 6th at 787 weeks in the top 25 and 5th at 91 weeks at number 1 in the ranking list.
2. USC vs. Michigan
All-time Football Series: USC, 6-4
Last meeting: USC won, 32-18
Another home run matchup in history, prestige and aesthetics between two premier football programs that haven’t met all that often over the years.
All but two of their previous matchups have been in the Rose Bowl and USC has won the last two and six of the last seven, most recently on New Year’s Day 2007.
+ Both Michigan and USC rank second in college football history with 11 national championships won.
+ Each is top 10 in terms of win rate, with Michigan ranking fourth all-time at .729.
+ Michigan is first all-time with 976 overall wins and third with 85 consensus All-American selections compared to USC’s 82 All-Americans.
+ Michigan is second all-time in the AP top 25 college football rankings at 887 weeks and ranks 12th overall at 34 weeks.
3. Almost every team at UCLA
Granted, seeing a Big Ten team on the field play UCLA may not be the most flawless football you’ll see on any given Saturday.
But with the future of the Rose Bowl game and its more than century-old heritage far from certain, these matchups from Pasadena will give us plenty of football to watch.
We should get a weekly list of Rose Bowl Stadium games that fans are used to seeing only once a year on New Year’s Day.
And with schools with large fan bases — like Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, and Penn State — coming out west, it should be a little easier to fill the seats in that sacred stadium, something UCLA hasn’t done very well in recent memory.
4. Nebraska vs. USC
All-time Football Series: USC, 4-0-1
Last meeting: USC won, 45-42
USC last played the Cornhuskers in the 2014 Holiday Bowl and the two before that in the regular season under head coach Pete Carroll.
This pair of college football blues haven’t been at their best since and their future isn’t set in stone, but this game should be a date for fans who just want to see elite programs on the same field.
+ Nebraska ranks 8th in college football history with 908 wins compared to USC’s 856.
+USC is fourth all-time with six Heisman Trophy winners. Nebraska ranks sixth all-time with three.
+ Nebraska is 8th with 54 consensus All-American selections.
+ Both schools rank in the top 10 NFL draft picks, Nebraska at No. 10 with 366 draft picks and USC at No. 2 all-time with 520.
+ Nebraska ranks 8th all-time in the AP Top 25 college football rankings with 730 weeks and 7th with 70 weeks at #1.
5. Penn State vs. USC
All-time Football Series: USC, 6-4
Last meeting: USC won, 52-49
USC won the last three, two of them at the Rose Bowl, and Penn State won the three before that, two of them at Happy Valley in 1993 and 1994.
This new duel will give both programs an opportunity to expand their reach, with USC coming east to line up at Beaver Stadium, always one of the sport’s most exciting and passionate stages, and the Nittany Lions moving west to close under California play sun for some exposure on the west coast.
+ Penn State ranks 7th all-time with 909 wins and 9th with a bowl win percentage of .663.
+ The Nittany Lions are 7th with 375 NFL draft picks and 11th with 43 consensus All-American selections.
+ Penn State ranks 9th in the AP top 25 college football rankings with 665 weeks and 17th all-time with 21 weeks at #1.
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