Last month, word came out that Texas A&M could no longer hold up their agreement to play USC in 2015 and 2016, an agreement that reportedly never existed. Without an opponent for those two seasons, USC had to find a suitor, and today, the school has announced their formidable foes: Idaho, Arkansas State and New Mexico.
The games will take place over 2015 and 2016 and all coming in Los Angeles, as the Trojans will host Idaho and Arkansas State in 2015, followed by New Mexico in 2016. In both of those seasons, USC will have two non-conference home games, as Notre Dame comes calling to the Coliseum in November 2016.
The three games are a significant step back in scheduling from Texas A&M and it comes at a time when the College Football Playoff stresses the importance of a tough non-conference schedule. It appears, that with the exception of a three-year deal with BYU, USC is opting for the SEC approach of clinging to a powerhouse out-of-conference rival and then playing two home games against lower-tier mid-majors.
It’s a practice that has significantly aided the SEC’s run of national championships, and USC does so while preserving their streak of not playing an FCS opponent. For the Trojans, playing teams out of the conferences such as the Sun Belt are de facto FCS opponents without the three-letter title to their name.
USC has never played New Mexico or Arkansas State, but they 8-0 lifetime against Idaho.