Addition of USC and UCLA’s Big Ten Gives Ohio State a New Blue-Chip Enemy, More Travel to the Rose Bowl, and Continued Conference Relevance

Things are going to change in the Big Ten.

Thursday’s announcement that USC and UCLA will be leaving the Pac-12 and joining Ohio State and company in 2024 was a bombshell in the world of collegiate athletics, and is sure to have ripple effects in the coming months — and years. university football landscape. – come.

Other conferences will certainly make efforts to realign in response to the Big Ten’s move, and the Big Ten itself may not be added to the list of affiliates in the near future if speculation is to be believed. But as of now, all we know for sure is that USC and UCLA are only a few years away from new opponents from all the other Big Ten programs.

The impact on the state of Ohio in particular will be significant for a myriad of reasons, and below we’ve taken a closer look at some of them.

Another Blue-Chip Competitor

Ohio State has largely dominated the Big Ten for the past decade, winning four of the past five conference championships and five of the past eight. But with USC joining the group, the Buckeyes have another fierce competitor in the annual race for the conference crown.

Of course, USC has only played one bowling game in the past four years, but Lincoln Riley’s arrival in Southern California is expected to revive the sleeping giant’s lungs. Riley’s high-flying fouls in Oklahoma yielded numerous Heisman Trophy winners and four College Football Playoff appearances, and there’s little doubt that this will soon become the expectation of the Trojan program under his leadership.

While USC has not won a national title since 2004, it claims nine in its storied history, which also includes 39 conference championships, 55 bowling appearances and six Heisman Trophy winners. The recruiting cache that Riley is bringing to the table has already been felt in Los Angeles, meaning USC could soon be back on its once great trajectory forward.

Head-to-head, USC is all-time 13-10-1 against the Buckeyes, but claimed seven straight wins over Ohio State from 1975 to 2009 before losing to the Scarlet and Gray in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.

With USC in the mix, the Buckeyes will have another major threat to contend with to Big Ten supremacy, beyond the usual suspects like Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Bigger budget thanks to Big Ten TV deal

The Big Ten brand will only grow with the addition of USC and UCLA, which will extend the conference’s reach from coast to coast. That could mean more money for all affiliates when the Big Ten restructures its TV deal in the near future.

According to a report by Scott Dochternan of The Athletic on June 14, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren and several Fox executives recently heard the latest pitches from companies like ABC, CBS, NBC and Amazon for media rights packages. The Big Ten could earn $1 billion annually from the new deal, according to the report.

Mind you, that was before Thursday’s news on USC and UCLA.

A monster deal for the new Big Ten will lead to higher profits for the state of Ohio and the rest of the programs in the conference, which in turn will lead to bigger budgets for the athletic departments in Columbus and beyond.

Not only is that a win for the Ohio state soccer team, but it will open the checkbook for the rest of Buckeyes’ sports programming.

Big Ten is not “left behind”

With the addition of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, which will expand the conference to 16 teams by 2025, discussions of a super league that could operate as its own entity in college football were not hard to find.

The Big 12 was left behind in the wake of the move, and “the Alliance” between the Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC was basically a countermeasure to the rest of the Power 5 conferences to regain power in the sports landscape. But the parameters of the partnership were vague from the start, and the bond was short-lived, as the Big Ten has now poached two of the Pac-12’s most notable affiliate universities.

By turning to bring in USC and UCLA, the Big Ten made a power play that prevents it from being “left behind” by the powerful SEC, as some have feared. Controlling multiple major college football markets, the Big Ten will see its relevance grow, which is a bonus to the state of Ohio as one of the most recognizable brands in the sport.

More Trips to the Rose Bowl

Usually, the Buckeyes have to hit their ticket to Pasadena with a Rose Bowl berth at the end of the season, and in the CFP era, that’s only if the chips fall a certain way for the state of Ohio.

Ohio State has only played in the Rose Bowl three times since 2009, and the Buckeyes weren’t thrilled to be there last season, missing an opportunity to compete for college football’s biggest prize. But with UCLA soon to be in the Big Ten, those trips will be much more frequent, and they won’t mean the Buckeyes are missing a better path after the season.

The Buckeyes may not play the Bruins every year given the growing number of teams in the conference, but UCLA’s presence in the Big Ten should ensure Ohio State can play in perhaps the most iconic setting of college football more often than it otherwise would. would have been the case.

Even if the state of Ohio doesn’t play in Pasadena, it will have more travel to Southern California in general, as the Buckeyes will also play many games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum when USC hosts the Scarlet and Gray in the years to come.

Increased recruiting exposure in California

Ohio State has already had a lot of recruiting success in the state of California in recent years. Just ask CJ Stroud and Chris Olave; two of the most notable performers on the program over the past few seasons, both from the Golden State.

With the reach of the Big Ten now expanding westward, the state of Ohio will only gain prominence in the recruiting hotbed that is California.

While Pac-12 fans normally haven’t tuned in to Big Ten matchups, college football fans in Southern California will quickly become indoctrinated into the conference as their favorite teams begin to include teams from the newly restructured league. Ohio State is, of course, the largest brand of all the Big Ten teams and will soon be seen regularly in the Los Angeles market during the regular season in a way it has never been before.

Traveling to California mid-season can also help Buckeye’s coaching staff attend high school competitions to recruit local prospects, which is sure to contribute to Ohio’s recruiting efforts in the state, on top of the factors mentioned above.

Impact on basketball, Olympic sports

The Big Ten’s latest signings won’t just affect the Buckeye football program. While USC is the far more formidable foe on the roster, the Ohio State men’s basketball team will soon be seeing two great programs on the hardwood on a regular basis when the Trojans and Bruins join the Big Ten.

The storied UCLA basketball program has 11 NCAA Tournament titles to its name (though none since 1995), was a No. 4 in the Big Dance last season and reached the Final Four in 2021.

USC doesn’t have the same historic ancestry in basketball, but the Trojan program has had just as much success in recent years. Under head coach Andy Enfield, USC has suffered no double-digit defeats in the past three seasons. The Trojans were a No. 7 in the NCAA tournament last year and a No. 6 on their way to a regional finals the year before.

The cross-country travel required for frequent trips to California may seem like a concern for the Olympic sports that don’t receive the same funding as the soccer or men’s basketball teams. But as mentioned, the money generated from the Big Ten’s restructured TV deal is intended to help all parties as the athletics department adjusts to the conference’s new confines.

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