Big Ten Sources Confirm USC Trojans Vs. Penn State Is Conference’s New Rivalry

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the USC Trojans embark on their inaugural Big Ten campaign this fall, sources within the conference commissioner’s office have revealed a compelling insight to the Los Angeles Football Network. Namely, conference leadership is actively orchestrating for USC versus Penn State to be the Big Ten’s newest marquee rivalry, second only to the incomparable Michigan-Ohio State grudge match. 

With Penn State widely regarded as the enduring “third team” in the heritage Big Ten, conference leaders have strategically and intentionally scheduled USC-Penn State four times in the next five seasons.

Why A USC Trojans Vs Penn State Rivalry Makes Sense

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California | USC Trojans Penn State Rivalry
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Deontay Burnett (80) catches a pass for a touchdown against Penn State Nittany Lions safety Marcus Allen (2) during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The hope, according to sources, is that the Nittany Lions will finally have a true rival comparable in talent, aspirations, and fan base, while not disrupting the sanctity and sacredness of what Michigan-Ohio State symbolizes in the Midwest. 

According to conference insiders, since every Big Ten team is already highly motivated and energized to play the Buckeyes, given their decorated talent and “villain” persona, while the Wolverines have a secondary in-state tussle with Michigan State, finding an enduring rival for Penn State was a top priority in this realignment.

The Trojans seemed like a perfect fit given their epic 52-49 Rose Bowl triumph over the Nittany Lions in 2017 which became an instant classic and featured future NFL stars such as Saquon Barkley, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, and Adoree Jackson.

In fact, over the past 15 seasons, since the USC Trojans and Penn State squared off in the 2009 Granddaddy of them all (yet another USC victory), here is the tale of the tape between these two potential foils:

USCPenn State
W-L Record123-66130-60
Top-10 Finishes35
New Year’s Six Bowl Appearances35
New Year’s Six Bowl Victories13
Rose Bowl Victories11
Conference Championships11
Seasons with Postseason Ban22

It’s obvious both teams are remarkably comparable over the past decade and a half, with Penn State holding the slight edge in performance. Let’s see if the Big Ten’s dream of a rivalry born becomes reality and if the Trojans can regain the upper hand.