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#pounditThursday, March 30, 2023

Big Ten looking to give USC, UCLA prime permanent opponents

Lincoln Riley with USC

Apr 23, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Lincoln Riley during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC and UCLA will move to the Big Ten ahead of the 2024 season, and it sounds like they will have an opportunity to establish some new high-profile rivalries right from the jump.

The Big Ten will have 16 teams once UCLA and USC join. Conference officials are in the process of deciding on a new schedule format, which will likely center on each team playing nine in-conference games. Of those nine, six will be against rotating opponents (six one year and six the next) and three against permanent opponents.

Though USC and UCLA will be new to the conference, an athletic director from a Big Ten school told Matt Hayes of Saturday Tradition that one proposed model for scheduling includes UCLA playing Ohio State as a permanent opponent and USC facing Michigan every year. That would allow media partners Fox, CBS and NBC to be assured of two more games each season that will draw massive ratings.

Other models involve Penn State facing USC or UCLA as a permanent opponent. The goal is clearly to have USC and UCLA face at least one of the Big Ten’s marquee programs — Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State — every year.

Of course, there will have to be balance to keep everyone happy. We have already seen the potential issues that could arise when Nick Saban shared his big complaint about the SEC implementing a similar schedule structure.


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