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Southern California, UCLA football history with their upcoming Big Ten opponents

By Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY,


In another year, Southern California's 2024 season opener in Las Vegas against LSU or the later matchup against Notre Dame in November would be the underlined, italicized and bolded games on the Trojans' schedule.

But that won't be the case. For USC, the eye-catching dates on the 2024 slate involve the eight brand-new conference matchups for the first-year member of the Big Ten.

Likewise with UCLA, which also takes on LSU in non-conference play before kicking off life in the Big Ten. In 2024, the two cross-city rivals will face off at USC at a date to be determined before meeting in the Rose Bowl a year later. Overall, UCLA is 47-43-3 against the current Big Ten and USC is 75-30-3.

With the Big Ten announcing opponents for each school in the 2024 and 2025 seasons , it's going to take time for these matchups to feel normal. In the meantime, many of these pairings will represent some of the most high-profile, high-interest games across the entire Football Bowl Subdivision.
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (13) runs with the ball against Utah during the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Oct. , 2022. Rob Gray, USA TODAY Sports

With another year and a few weeks until the two programs officially join the conference, here's how the Trojans and Bruins have fared against the Big Ten opponents set to appear on the docket beginning next September.

USC's Big Ten schedule and history

at Illinois (2024)

Series record: USC leads 11-2.

Last matchup: USC 49, Illinois 17 (2008 Rose Bowl).

Illinois blanked USC 19-0 in the first meeting between these two, all the way back in 1935, and have lost 11 of 12 since. The latest was an absolutely brutal shellacking in the 2008 Rose Bowl that saw the Trojans rack up 633 yards of offense and force four turnovers.

at Indiana (2025)

Series record: USC leads 4-0.

Last matchup: USC 28, Indiana 7 (Sept. 18, 1982).

These two met in the biggest game in Indiana's history: USC won 14-3 in the 1968 Rose Bowl, still the only appearance in the Hoosiers' history. The Trojans have outscored IU 90-24 in these four matchups.

at Iowa (2024)

Series record: USC leads 7-3.

Last matchup: Iowa 49, USC 24 (2017 Holiday Bowl).

All but two of these 10 matchups have come during the regular season. The Hawkeyes and Trojans have split the two bowl games, with USC running away with the 2003 Orange Bowl and Iowa doing the same in the Holiday Bowl to end the 2017 season.

vs. Maryland (2024)

Series record: 0-0.

Last matchup: None.

Maryland is one of two current Big Ten programs to never face USC, joining Rutgers. While the Terrapins have noticeable steps forward under coach Mike Locksley, Maryland's 2024 offense might be rebuilding without current senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the most prolific passer in program history.

at Michigan (2024)

Series record: USC leads 6-4.

Last matchup: USC 32, Michigan 18 (2007 Rose Bowl).

All but two of the 10 matchups between these two historic powers has taken place in the Rose Bowl, most recently at the end of the 2006 season. The Trojans are 6-2 in Rose Bowl games against Michigan, with the Wolverines' most recent win coming in 1989.

at Michigan State (2025)

Series record: Tied 4-4.

Last matchup: Michigan State 17, USC 16 (1990 Sun Bowl).

Not counting Maryland, the Spartans are the only Big Ten team with a non-losing record against the Trojans. The four wins include the 1988 Rose Bowl and a 17-7 win on Oct. 3, 1964, against the then-No. 2 ranked Trojans.

vs. Penn State (2024), at Penn State (2025)

Series record: USC leads 6-4.

Last matchup: USC 52, Penn State 49 (2017 Rose Bowl).

The Nittany Lions and Trojans met five times in seven seasons between 1990-96, with USC taking home games in 1990 and 1991 before losing on the road and at a neutral site in 1993, 1994 and 1996. USC has won all three meetings since, including Rose Bowl victories in 2009 and 2017. The latter matchup, a shootout won almost singlehandedly by former quarterback Sam Darnold, is one of the great games in Rose Bowl history.

vs. Minnesota (2025)

Series record: USC leads 6-1-1.

Last matchup: USC 19, Minnesota 17 (Sept. 3, 2011).

The Trojans have won five in a row against Minnesota after losing 25-19 on the road in 1955 and tying the Golden Gophers 20-20 at home in 1965. Both teams were ranked when they met to open the 1968 season, with the Trojans winning 29-20 in the first of three games that season against the Big Ten, along with Northwestern and Ohio State.

at Nebraska (2025)

Series record: USC leads 4-0-1.

Last matchup: USC 45, Nebraska 42 (2014 Holiday Bowl).

The two teams tied 20-20 when they met in 1970, though that didn't prevent Nebraska from claiming the first of back-to-back national championships. But USC is the only opponent Nebraska has faced more than once and failed to defeat at least once, led by a pair of extremely disheartening losses under then-coach Brian Callahan in 2006 (28-10) and 2007 (49-31).

vs. Northwestern (2024)

Series record: USC leads 5-0.

Last matchup: USC 42, Northwestern 32 (1996 Rose Bowl).

Underdog Northwestern was perhaps the underdog story of the 1990s when they made an utterly unexpected run to the 1996 Rose Bowl, though the Wildcats were unable to keep USC and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson under wraps in the 10-point loss. Northwestern has been outscored 115-20 in the other four meetings.

vs. Purdue (2024)

Series record: USC leads 3-1.

Last matchup: USC 27, Purdue 17 (Aug. 30, 1998).

Three reasons why the 1998 non-conference game in Los Angeles deserves to be remembered: one, it was the starting debut for Purdue quarterback Drew Brees, then a sophomore; two, it was also the debut for USC freshman and future Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, who tossed his first career touchdown in the win; and three, temperatures at the Los Angeles Coliseum reached 110 degrees on the field, causing fans, band members and cheerleaders to wilt in the heat.

vs. Rutgers (2025)

Series record: 0-0.

Last matchup: None.

Rutgers has only faced four members of the current Pac-12, winning just once − against Washington State in 2014 − out of 10 overall meetings. The Scarlet Knights split two games against the Cougars and are 0-2 against Arizona State, California and Washington.

at Wisconsin (2024), vs. Wisconsin (2025)

Series record: USC leads 6-1.

Last matchup: Wisconsin 23, USC 21 (2015 Holiday Bowl).

USC pulled out one-possession Rose Bowl wins against Wisconsin in 1953 (7-0) and 1963 (42-37). The Trojans were 6-0 in the all-time series before the Badgers won the 2015 Holiday Bowl with a 29-yard field goal with under three minutes left.

UCLA's Big Ten schedule and history

vs. Illinois (2025)

Series record: Tied 6-6.

Last matchup: Illinois 20, UCLA 14 (2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl).

UCLA's 12 matchups against Illinois are the program's most against a current member of the Big Ten. This includes the 1947 Rose Bowl, won by Illinois, and the 1984 Rose Bowl, famously won by the Bruins with Rick Neuheisel at quarterback. Most recently, UCLA lost the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to an Illinois team that was the first in FBS history to start 6-0 but finish the regular season at 6-6.

vs. Indiana (2024)

Series record: 0-0.

Last matchup: None.

Next season will mark the first matchup between the two programs and offer Indiana the chance at snapping an 0-6 mark against FBS teams based in California. Overall, Indiana is 9-21 against current Pac-12 teams with a winning record only against Washington (2-1).

vs. Iowa (2025)

Series record: UCLA leads 6-3.

Last matchup: UCLA 45, Iowa 28 (1986 Rose Bowl).

One of the Bruins' six wins in the series has since been vacated; all seven victories during the 1977 season were forfeited due to UCLA using ineligible players. Of the nine games between the Bruins and Hawkeyes, none are more famous than UCLA's Rose Bowl win against quarterback Chuck Long and the Hawkeyes to end the 1985 season.

at Maryland (2025)

Series record: Tied 1-1.

Last matchup: Maryland 7, UCLA 0 (Sept. 24, 1955).

Each of the two previous matchups in this series had deep national implications. In 1954, the No. 4 Bruins beat No. 6 Maryland 12-7 on the way to the national championship. One year later, the No. 8 Terrapins blanked top-ranked UCLA as part of a 10-0 start that ended with a 20-6 loss to eventual national champion Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

vs. Michigan (2024)

Series record: Michigan leads 8-3.

Last matchup: UCLA 23, Michigan 20 (Sept. 16, 2000).

Give UCLA credit for winning the most recent meeting between the two programs and for taking both meetings during the 1982 season, including a 24-14 victory in the only Rose Bowl matchup in series history. But it's been all Michigan otherwise, with just one of the remaining eight games decided by fewer than 19 points.

vs. Michigan State (2025)

Series record: Tied 3-3.

Last matchup: UCLA 56, Michigan State 14 (Sept. 28, 1974).

UCLA and MSU met twice during the Spartans' 1965 national championship season, with the Spartans winning 13-3 in East Lansing during the regular season and then losing 14-12 in the 1966 Rose Bowl. The latter had one of the great finishes in Rose Bowl history: Down by a pair with 30 seconds left after a short touchdown run, MSU went for the two-point conversion but was stopped short of the goal line by UCLA defender Bob Stiles, who had 10 tackles and two interceptions in the win.

at Minnesota (2024)

Series record: Minnesota leads 2-1.

Last matchup: UCLA 17, Minnesota 3 (Sept. 30, 1978).

The Bruins' first meeting in the series was a 21-3 loss in the 1962 Rose Bowl, to date the latest of Minnesota's two postseason appearances in Pasadena. Three of UCLA's four losses in that 1961 season would come against the Big Ten: Michigan (29-6), Ohio State (13-3) and the Golden Gophers.

at Nebraska (2024), vs. Nebraska (2025)

Series record: Nebraska leads 7-6.

Last matchup: Nebraska 37, UCLA 29 (2015 Foster Farms Bowl).

That UCLA took both halves of a home-and-home series in 2012 and 2013 removed some of the sting from a series of ugly losses to Nebraska from 1983-94. While the Bruins did win once in this time, topping Nebraska 41-28 at home in 1988, the Cornhuskers won the surrounding five meetings during this span by a combined score of 189-80.

at Northwestern (2024)

Series record: Tied 3-3.

Last matchup: UCLA 50, Northwestern 38 (2005 Sun Bowl).

The 2005 Sun Bowl is only meeting between these two programs since 1970. The Wildcats won three in a row (1931, 1947-48) but the Bruins have responded with three wins of their own, including wins in Evanston and at home in 1969 and 1970.

at Ohio State (2024)

Series record: Tied 4-4-1.

Last matchup: UCLA 13, Ohio State 6 (Sept. 22, 2001).

All nine games in the series have taken place since 1961 with no team winning more than one in a row. The Buckeyes won in Columbus in 1961 and the Bruins returned the favor at home a year later. OSU clobbered UCLA 41-20 in during the 1975 regular season but the Bruins responded with a 23-10 victory in the 1976 Rose Bowl. After tying 10-10 on Oct. 2, 1976, the pair has alternated wins in 1979, 1980, 1999 and 2011.

vs. Penn State (2025)

Series record: UCLA leads 4-2.

Last matchup: Penn State 21, UCLA 6 (Oct. 12, 1968).

Penn State and UCLA met every year from 1963-68, long before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. PSU won the first and last meetings to sandwich four consecutive wins by the Bruins, highlighted by a 49-11 win at home in 1966.

at Purdue (2025)

Series record: UCLA leads 3-0-2.

Last matchup: UCLA 23, Purdue 14 (Sept. 20, 1980).

While the Boilermakers tied UCLA in 1959 (0-0) and 1960 (27-27), Purdue is the only Power Five program the Bruins have played more than three times without a loss.

vs. Rutgers (2024), at Rutgers (2025)

Series record: 0-0.

Last matchup: None.

Like Indiana, Rutgers has never faced UCLA but struggled against the Pac-12. Of course, the Scarlet Knights have struggled against every Power Five conference, posting ugly records against the ACC (47-113-2), Big 12 (7-36-2), Big Ten (26-97) and Pac-12 (1-7) while posting a surprisingly impressive mark against the current SEC (7-11-2).

at Wisconsin (2025)

Series record: UCLA leads 7-4.

Last matchup: Wisconsin 21, UCLA 20 (2000 Sun Bowl).

The Bruins helped put Barry Alvarez and Wisconsin on the national map to stay with Rose Bowl losses to the Badgers in 1994 (21-16) and 1999 (38-31). The 1994 win snapped Wisconsin's seven-game losing streak in the series, which featured lopsided losses in every season from 1979-82.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Southern California, UCLA football history with their upcoming Big Ten opponents

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