USC beat reporter, Chris Treviño, from 247Sports discusses USC, and UCLA’s plans to join the Big Ten in 2024.
Andrew Clay: The news came as a surprise here in PA was it a surprise out there in L.A..
Chris Treviño: Only a little bit shocking, but I wouldn’t say it was super surprising because USC had had all these conversations about should they go independent, should they be looking at a different league just because they weren’t getting the cut or attention or rape treatment that they felt like they deserved in a lower tier power five conference? That was the Power five.You know, they are blueblood program. They’re up there with the Alabamas, the Ohio States in terms of their tradition and history. And they weren’t being sort of treated that way that, you know, you saw how Ohio State was being treated in the Big Ten, or Alabama being treated the SEC. So this was always sort of a conversation among fans, among talking heads in the off-season. So it wasn’t that shocking that it happened, but it is a very big earthquake across across college football and how it changes pretty much everything moving forward.
AC: What is the reaction from people around the program?
CT: Everyone pretty much in terms of, you know, admin and stuff, obviously they’re very fired up about this change and what it means for the future in terms of the money that they will be bringing into the program, and other programs across the athletic department in terms of facility upgrades and all that kind of stuff. But in terms of fans, early on, I was very surprised. It was very split. We did a poll on Twitter among, you know, sort of social media with the USC fans that follow me and people that I that I cover the team with. And it was pretty much like 54 percent were for it. And about the rest about that 40, 46 percent or whatever, didn’t like the move. And, you know, we did a poll on our site and it was more 74% were about it and the rest were sort of unsure or not about it. So it was very split early on, which I was kind of surprised about. I thought more people would be all for, maybe 90 percent. But I think a lot of people are holding on to that tradition of USC in the PAC-12 conference. They’ve been a part of it for over, or close to 100 years or more than 100 years. So there is a lot of tradition, obviously, in college football, but obviously things are changing fast with the way money is and TV deals, history and tradition is sort of being moved to the side for these super conferences. So I can understand why some people are maybe hesitant to jump on board, just, you know, with those traditions being washed away and moved away. But this is the way that college football is moving. So USC had to jump on on the train quickly.
AC: I know there’s a lot of question about the fit in the Big Ten. Penn State played a November game in East Lansing (MI) this past year in a quite literal whiteout snowstorm. How do you think L.A. fans would react to those cold Midwestern winters?
CT: It’s definitely going to be a transition. I feel like someone on social media pointed out that USC’s only played in two snow games and they lost both of them. So that record is going to be tested a little bit more in the coming years. But I know USC is going to have to order a lot of cold gear for their athletes moving forward as they make those trips back home. And it’s going to be interesting. You know, USC has battled some Big Ten teams. They have favorable records against those guys. But it is going to be interesting when they get into those elements of the cold. USC has been scheduling Notre Dame at a time where there isn’t snow, so they can avoid that, but they’re not going to be able to avoid that in the Big Ten play. So that first USC snow game for them, I’m interested to see how they hold up, you know, being so cal natives and a lot of people used to like 60 degree Decembers out here. So it’s going to be a very big adjustment for sure.
AC: From a football perspective, Chris, do you think these two PAC-12 schools joining the Big Ten think is a good fit?
CT: I mean, it’s just sort of interesting just because Big Ten now has representatives on both sides of the coast. It makes sense from a monetary standpoint, you know, getting that L.A. market. From a football perspective, USC does have and UCLA with the West Coast, they have all those skill players, they have a quarterback. So I don’t think offensively, you know, you’re going to see USC come in and try to put up points. Defensively is where I begin to question what it’s going to look. They need to recruit bigger linemen because the linemen out here on the West Coast in the PAC-12 are a lot smaller than you’re seeing in the Midwest, those corn fed boys. So it’s going to be interesting. They need to get back to recruiting bigger guys in the trenches, which USC has struggled with, UCLA as well. So they need to have a turnaround when it comes to offensive line recruiting and defensive line recruiting. That’s the biggest thing I think is going to separate USC having a smooth transition in the Big Ten. They need guys in the trenches that can handle all of those big uglies out there in the Big Ten country.
AC: What’s a new rivalry you would love to see come out of this?
CT: As a Maryland fan, I would have to say USC, Maryland, but that’s just me being from Maryland. But in terms of actuality, I think a lot of fans are excited for Ohio State. You know, USC has gone to the to the Horseshoe and they beat the Buckeyes there. So I think a lot of people want to see that one. Also, Michigan, you know, having their historic Big House. I think a lot of fans are excited about making that trip. And then I think Penn State even has a little bit of a beef with USC in terms of that Rose Bowl from a few years back. I know they still want payback for that. So that could end up being turning into a great rivalry as well between these two coast to coast programs.
AC: From a grand scheme of things, what do you think is next in college football? Obviously, realignment is not over.
CT: I mean, I think we’re just trending towards the two superpowers being a two superpower league, sort of an AFC, NFC kind of deal where you have the SEC and all their teams and then the Big Ten’s with Big Ten with all their teams and they kind of battle it out in the end for those playoff spots. Now there is probably room for a third team, you know, with the Big 12, whatever happens with them, if they can poach the remaining PAC-12 schools that they want, maybe the ACC gets involved, maybe, you know, a Florida state, a Clemson, a miami, a USC, those guys as bigger brands find homes in the SCC or Big Ten or Big 12. So I think we’re looking at most definitely at least a two Super League conference and possibly even a third one. So these conferences, the power five is going to be no more. It’s going to be either a power two or a power three.