The college football landscape continues to alter as UCLA and USC add on to the teams switching in the next few years. With Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC it was only a matter of time before another super conference was created in order to balance college football. Most people including myself thought this would occur with the ACC and Big 10 creating an alliance. The Pac-12 now looks like they are going to be the conference that diminishes within the next few years. But that is really an article for another time. Today we dive into USC and UCLA and whether they really made the right choice in joining the Big 10.


Firstly, the important part of both these teams, but mainly USC, is if they can recruit. USC is bringing in loads of talent with their new Head Coach Lincoln Riley although is it going to continue in their new conference. Unlike the Pac 12, the Big 10 will feature extremely cold temperatures which aren’t exactly one of the reasons players go to California. Besides that, I really don’t see any potential problems from a recruiting standpoint. You get better competition and more televised games which should satisfy most recruits who were on the fence about the switch. From the school standpoint, the door will open to start recruiting more in the midwest which should make these teams better over time.

Past Results

Secondly, how are the teams going to fair playing against the Big 10? The biggest indicator of success can be looking at the past but specifically looking at when USC and UCLA played on the road against Big 10 opponents. This should give us a fair idea of how well they are going to play in their first few years.

Therefore since 1990, these teams haven’t faired terribly against Big 10 opponents. Although the biggest thing to point out is that each one of these games have been played in September. What happens when one of these teams has to play in the freezing Michigan temperatures with the season on the line.


There is no pressure when you are playing an early, non-conference game. There are cold games up in Washington but once again UCLA and USC are not used to that weather. It is going to be a huge change going from 70s or 60s to 30s or 20s. And yes this affects the teams more than you would think.

Riley had a high-powered passing offense at Oklahoma and I would assume he would continue this at USC. In the cold, it gets a lot harder to pass the ball and Riley is going to have to adjust his offense for those winter games. His current QB, Caleb Williams is from the east coast so he could potentially excel out in those tougher games. Although upcoming recruit Malachi Nelson is from California so playing in the snow could be a completely new experience for him.

UCLA under Chip Kelly runs the ball a lot more and will not have to face the same issues as USC. Although there is a concern about how well built his team is going into the move. UCLA still is rebuilding their team and despite having a good year last year this move could potentially be trouble for them. Their success in the Big 10 is going to largely depend on whether they can build on their season last year in this upcoming year.


The biggest concern by far is the defense that really doesn’t exist for either one of these teams. Coach Grinch did a great job fixing that OU defense, but he is starting from scratch again. UCLA let up over 20 points in all but three of their conference games. Now neither side has horrible defense, but neither side has a defense that can keep up with other Big 10 schools. It is going to have to change quickly as the move is only two years away and is going to be the most important thing to improve in order to compete.

Final Take

The Big 10 is a much tougher conference than the Pac 12 and it is going to take these teams’ best to play high-level football when they first join. We are still in the dark on how scheduling is going to work and who knows maybe the Big 10 changes their schedule so the California teams won’t have to play in extreme cold. Although it seems inevitable that a snowy Michigan vs USC/UCLA is eventually going to happen.

Most people believe that OU and Texas can not hang with the SEC due to defense and that is going to be another concern. How these two are able to finish off their years in the Pac 12 is going to tell the story of whether they can make a smooth jump forward. What might have been best monetarily was not the best decision for the success of these programs. I believe this move will make it extremely difficult for either of these teams to win a national championship for a long time.

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