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Onward Debates: Is USC And UCLA’s Move To The Big Ten Good For Penn State?

Last week, UCLA and USC shocked the college sports world when both schools announced their intentions to join the Big Ten in 2024.

Now, college football fans across the country are wondering how this will impact the sport and their schools, including Penn State fans. We saw excitement from Penn State Athletics and fans across the country when the two institutions were introduced to the Big Ten, but some may not agree.

So, we had two of our staffers give their thoughts on how this move could play out for the Nittany Lions.

Frankie Marzano: This Move Is Great For Penn State

I mean, I don’t know how any true Penn State fan can think this move isn’t awesome. Can you imagine the scene of USC coming to Happy Valley for a White Out in the middle of October? It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. And, like it or not, USC has been an unofficial rival of Penn State since the 1990s. Since 1990, the two teams have met eight times, with the Trojans taking five of those eight games. Their last meeting came in the 2017 Rose Bowl when Penn State lost a heartbreaker on a last-second field goal in one of the best college football games ever. We could see matchups like that every year. I don’t think it gets much better than that. Honestly, I don’t really see UCLA as much of a player in this for Penn State football, but I’m sure Micah Shrewsberry and his crew would love to circle a matchup with the Bruins on their schedule.

You can make the argument that this is bad for college football, which I understand. The College Football Playoff contract expires in 2025, which means that the Big Ten and SEC could probably just end up making their own playoff, and that would get complicated. But, this isn’t a college football blog. This is a Penn State blog. And Penn State is already settled in the Big Ten and will reap the benefits of these big moves for years to come.

Mikey DeAngelis: Maybe Not So Good For Penn State

When the news broke about USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten, many college sports fans from around the country were upset with how it would change the landscape of college sports, specifically college football. While this move is probably the beginning of the end of the Pac-12 and the start of the super conference era, I think there are other reasons why this move will be bad for Penn State, specifically. For one, this move will lead to a tougher strain on Penn State athletes. Balancing academics and athletics has always been tricky for student-athletes, and having to regularly travel to the West Coast each season will take a toll on the physical and mental well-being of some players.

Additionally, the school will have to devote more financial resources to athlete travel, specifically with less funded programs (not football) that traditionally play teams almost exclusively in the eastern half of the country. Lastly, competition might not necessarily be a good thing. While their football programs aren’t currently amazing, USC and UCLA have historically great programs that, I’m sure, will rebound in the near future. The Big Ten is already competitive enough for Penn State to qualify for a spot in the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six bowl, assuming it has enough wins. Adding more competitive teams feels like it would increase the chance of a stray mid-season loss more than increasing the chance of making it into the College Football Playoff. 

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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