USC Better Fit Than UCLA in Big 2

By T.J. Simers

I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that USC, more so than UCLA, will enjoy great success in the Big 2.

The Big 2, because everyone just seems to focus on Michigan and Ohio State, is pretty much all that’s being mentioned here in regards to the new sports reality, whatever that is.

Is that USC versus Rutgers?

Don’t you think it’s odd the Big Ten has 14 schools, but the focus is on only two?

Ordinarily it would be scary interjecting anyone other than Michigan or Ohio State into the Big 2 game of the year, but USC is going to have a heavyweight football program. That’s the word.

Certainly, better than UCLA.

But this isn’t about competition. This move is all about money, and while I don’t give a rip about USC or UCLA getting richer, the LA Times went crazy hyping this money grab.

USC has the new hot shot coach in college football with the cool name, Lincoln, and came to USC with his own quarterback. Now he has two years to enhance his reputation by beating up on the Pac 12 before taking on Northwestern, Illinois and Minnesota.

In three or four years he could have Woody Hayes’ record to put it in Big 2 terms.

Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke wrote this morning, “every football Saturday could feel like a Rose Bowl.” Do you think USC will be favored by 21 in its Rose Bowl with the Fighting Illini?

He goes on to write: “USC visits Michigan one week,” and I don’t think they have a Rose Bowl in Michigan, but it’s all over-written so just go with it.

He continues to write: “Ohio State comes to UCLA the next week, are you kidding me?” Well, I would think if the schedule calls for Ohio State going to UCLA, it will go. No joke.

Yes, the Big 2 will show up every so often in L.A., and play a big game much like Oregon or Stanford did when Peter Carroll offered a challenge.

Plaschke says, “Indiana and Michigan State play UCLA at packed Pauley Pavillion in the middle of February on national television, are you serious.”

Well, not if Duke and North Carolina are scheduled that same February night.

Do you think Minnesota-USC basketball will be packed in mid-February?

The hype is a smoke screen of exaggerated rah-rah hoopla to disguise the fact this is just about more money. The athletes are now being paid above the table rather than below, so I guess this will help recruiting.

But my first thought was we’re going to lose the commentary of Bill Walton, who might stay with Pac 12 basketball.

One of the headlines in the Times read: “A bigger share of revenue is among the reasons why they may benefit from switch.”

Name another reason.

The Pac 12 plays the most entertaining college football in the land most years. The Big 2 gets excited about one big game in Columbus or Ann Arbor every year.

The Times says USC and UCLA will benefit from better competition, although that seems to change every season. USC will do just fine in the Big 2 slugfests but I fear we will never hear of UCLA again in football.

UCLA and USC, we’re told by the Times, will also benefit from media exposure, quite the admission by the L.A. Times that the newspapers in Ann Arbor and Columbus do a better job.

That’s the three reasons cited why this is better for USC and UCLA: More money for the schools, better competition and a better newspaper to document it all.

Plaschke points out: “Face it, USC had long since outgrown a decaying Pac-12 that had deteriorated into the home of late-night TV games, half-empty stadiums and national irrelevance.”

Well, many of those half-empty stadiums were the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum. Do you think Purdue and Indiana are going to travel here every other year like they would for the big granddaddy of them all?

But I give Plaschke credit, noting this is all about USC’s dominance: “And face it,” he wrote, “USC wasn’t going anywhere without UCLA.”

I think it’s sweet USC considers UCLA like its tag-along little brother.

Now on a side note, I guess we know who Plaschke is supporting to be L.A. Mayor.

“In a move apparently generated by forward-thinking USC Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso with new athletic director Mike Bohn—Caruso is also the man running for mayor of Los Angeles—USC and UCLA were extremely smart and excessively nimble.”

That’s not a very nimble paragraph, but it’s good to know the wannabe mayor is always thinking about making more money.

He also praised Caruso for his “unwavering commitment to restore USC’s football program to greatness.”

If I was a Bruins’ supporter, right now I’d be thinking about the greatness of Karen Bass.

No one, of course, has the pulse of Los Angeles like Plaschke because no one at the paper has lasted as long on the job.

But when it comes to gushing and predicting what a fantastic move this is for USC, keep in mind this is coming from an opinion maker who is 6-17 by his own count on predicting how the Super Bowl will go.

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