NCAA Football

BYU may have made it easier for USC to win the Pac-12 next season

BYU may have made it easier for USC to win the Pac-12 next season

Ironically, BYU football may have given the USC Trojans the upper hand next season when it came to competing for the Pac-12 championship.

The Cougars and Trojans were scheduled to play each other in 2023 on November 25 in the Trojans’ regular season finale.

That is no longer the case due to BYU’s schedule commitment with the Big 12 (the Cougars’ 2023 schedule has not yet been released, though according to the FBS scheduleBYU will play Sam Houston State, Southern Utah and Arkansas to open the season).

According to John Willner of The Mercury NewsUSC had two options to replace the game it lost against BYU:

  • Find an opponent to play in Week 3 and go 12 straight games without a bye.
  • Leave Week 3 open and replace the BYU game with the Week 0 game.
  • (A search for another opponent for the Nov. 25 season finale was apparently ineligible).

The Trojans opted for a Week 0 approach — USC will host San Jose State on Aug. 26 — and that’s where BYU benefits USC.

With the Cougars having to take on the Trojans, USC will now have a bye week before the Pac-12 Championship Game this season, while their top conference competition is Oregon, Utah, Washington, Oregon State and UCLA — All are playing on the final weekend of the regular season, in some cases against hot opponents.

Utah hosts Colorado, Oregon hosts rival Oregon State, Washington hosts rival Washington State and UCLA hosts California. Utah, Washington and UCLA will also enter the Pac-12 title game on a short week if any of them finish with the conference’s top two records.

Of course, USC’s berth in the Pac-12 title game is by no means guaranteed.

The Trojans have one of the toughest schedules in the conference, with home games against Stanford, Arizona, Utah, Washington, UCLA, and road games against Arizona State, Colorado, California and Oregon State.

(USC also plays Notre Dame, San Jose State and Nevada).

USC and UCLA plan to leave the Pac-12 ahead of the 2024 season — and join the Big Ten, making next year the last year the Trojans and Bruins will play in the conference they founded.

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