USC schedules first-ever FCS opponent with game against UC Davis in 2021

Yahoo Sports
USC has never played a team from the FCS ranks of college football. The streak ends in just over two years. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
USC has never played a team from the FCS ranks of college football. The streak ends in just over two years. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

USC’s streak of never playing a team from outside of college football’s top level will end during the 2021 season.

The Trojans announced a few future non-conference games on Friday and the announcement included a game against FCS opponent UC Davis on Sept. 4 of that season.

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Per a school release, USC said it was because it couldn’t find an FBS opponent to come to Los Angeles and play that weekend. The addition of UC Davis fills out USC’s schedule for that season. In addition to nine Pac-12 games, the Trojans already had a game against BYU and the annual rivalry game against Notre Dame on the docket.

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While not scheduling an FCS opponent can certainly be seen as a noble endeavor, USC shouldn’t get much, if any, scorn for the decision to schedule UC Davis. SEC teams schedule FCS opponents on a regular basis — every team in the conference has a game against an FCS opponent in 2019 — and the Big Ten even recently relaxed its rules against FCS games. After outright banning member schools from scheduling FCS teams, the conference allows schools to schedule an FCS opponent in years that four of the school’s nine conference games are at home.

And besides, FCS teams need revenue, too. While games between Power Five schools and FCS opponents are typically blowouts — with a few exceptions, of course — they provide an important source of revenue for the lower-tier schools in the form of the guaranteed payout for playing the game.

USC’s game against UC Davis also leaves just two FBS teams that haven’t played an FCS opponent. And they’re both rivals of the Trojans, as Notre Dame’s sports information director points out.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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