USC football: What does Big Ten cancelling out of conference slate mean for Trojans?

USC football could be impacted by the Big Ten's conference-only slate. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
USC football could be impacted by the Big Ten's conference-only slate. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

USC football, like all CFB, is reeling from a report that the Big Ten will cancel non-conference games.

Things are about to get very real for college sports and USC football by extension.

On Thursday, the Big Ten is expected to announce a conference-only plan for the 2020 football season, according to a report from Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic.

If the Big Ten goes that direction, it’s only a matter of time before the Pac-12 follows.

How could USC football be impacted by the Big Ten’s decision?

The Big Ten canceling non-conference events will have a direct effect on some Pac-12 schools, but USC isn’t one of them.

Washington and Oregon were each slated to face off with Big Ten teams this season. The Huskies were supposed to play Michigan in Week 1 while the Buckeyes were coming to face Oregon in Week 2. Those games now appear off the table.

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In a broader sense, it’s hard to envision a college football season where the Big Ten declines to play the non-conference schedule while the rest of the Power 5 conferences go ahead with their non-conference slate. Essentially, if the Big Ten does it, the rest are likely to follow.

On Wednesday the Ivy League decided to postpone or cancel all fall sports. Even though many claimed that move wouldn’t have bearing on how the Power 5 would move forward, it’s clear which way the wind is blowing.

If there is any hope for the Pac-12 going forward as planned, it’s that programs in the conference have generally experienced good results when it comes to COVID-19 testing. No major outbreaks have required workouts to be shut down as of yet.

For USC specifically, concern turns towards the SEC and Notre Dame. The Irish recently reported a slate of completely negative tests, which could breed hope in the annual rivalry game persisting. It’s a slight hope though.

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As for the Alabama season opener, the prospect of that game going forward looks dimmer and dimmer by the day. Both the SEC and the Pac-12 would have to buck the Big Ten’s trend to make it happen.

USC’s director of player personnel Gavin Morris seems to assume the date in Arlington is unlikely.

It’s now a waiting game to see what the Pac-12 (and the SEC) decide the plan for the 2020 season will be.


The Athletic is reporting on the likelihood of the Pac-12 making their own announcement soon.

“Multiple industry insiders said they expect the Pac-12 to make a similar decision as the Big Ten in the coming days,” Auerbach reported.

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