Our first four contestants—Indiana, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Illinois—are historically absolute garbage against USC, with only one win since FDR was first elected. Heck, Nebraska had to settle for a tie in one of their national title years, and we know those days are long gone. Fortunately, those four played UCLA pretty much to a standstill, so maybe there’s hope.
Let’s move on to a quick look at the historical results of the four other teams that have already received their B1G 2022 preview.
0-0 vs. USC
RU in VA: Very Football focused, I see.
0-0 vs. UCLA
Rutgers has never faced either UCLA or USC, and I think we can all agree that has been a very good thing for Rutgers fans.
RU in VA: Everyone acts like this is some big joke that Rutgers is gonna get steamrolled by these PAC-10 powerhouses. Are we sure anyone still watches USC? They were hamblasted by the TERRIBLE defense of UCLA 62-33 last year.
UCLA has had one winning record since 2016 - and doesn’t face anything near a national championship contender in their division of the PAC-10.
0-0 vs. USC
1-1 vs. UCLA
A home and home with UCLA in 1954 and 1955 is the sum total of Maryland’s experience. Isn’t B1G expansion wonderful! Look at the worlds being brought together!!!
In all seriousness, these games merit comment. UCLA’s 12-7 home win over Maryland in 1954 was an early-season showdown between the #6 and #4 teams. UCLA’s win moved them to #2. The would finish the season unbeaten, and UPI national champions. The had also reached #1 in the AP poll, but were passed by Ohio State, the eventual AP national champs, despite beating Oregon 41-0. Ohio State played USC, not UCLA (who beat USC 34-0) in the Rose Bowl because the then Pacific Coast Conference had a “no repeat” rule. SEE KIDS! Today is corrupt and the old way of doing things was always better.
But we’re talking about Maryland, and in the return trip in 1955, the #5 Terrapins got revenge in the form of a 7-0 home win over the #1 Bruins. That was enough to vault Maryland to #1 in the AP Poll, though they would flit back and forth between #1 and #2 the rest of the regular season before being passed by 8-1 Michigan State at season’s end. No worry, Maryland went to the Orange Bowl and got a crack at #1 Oklahoma, who, in the midst of their 47-game winning streak, defeated Maryland 20-6. For their part, UCLA fell in the Rose Bowl to Michigan State 17-14. On the season, the Terps finished 3rd and the Bruins 4th. Obviously this was all a long time ago.
4-6 vs. USC
I’m older than most of you, so can comment of some of these matchups (though not the 1923 USC win, so can it) from first hand viewing experience:
- 1982 Fiesta Bowl: In the first Fiesta Bowl played in January, PSU shut down Heisman winner Marcus Allen in a convincing 26-10 victory. Curt Warner had a good game on the ground, and PSU used the victory as a launching pad for their 1982 national title season. USC’s only TD came on a pick-six by future Pro Bowler Chip Banks.
- 1991: PSU finished 11-2 and #3 on the season (and was #5 entering this game); USC finished 3-8 (and was 0-1 after an upset loss to...Memphis State). But the Trojans pulled off a big 21-10 upset, largely because the PSU O-line had not yet jelled as Tony Sacca was sacked five times and threw three picks.
- 1994: Fresh off of an opening game win over a ranked Washington squad, #14 USC came to Happy Valley and was throttled by #8 PSU, 38-14. The first sign that PSU might be looking at a special season. Penn State, behind Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, and Bobby Engram, would field one of the best offenses in CFB history, averaging 47 ppg. The Lions went 12-0, but had to settle for a #2 final ranking in both polls, owing, in part, to a “doesn’t Tom Osborne deserve a title” sentiment among voters.
- 2009 Rose Bowl: 38-24 USC. Not as close as the score indicated.
- 2017 Rose Bowl: 52-49 USC. Every bit as close as the score indicated. 101 total points, but, somehow, 0 for PSU in the last quarter. [This is totally uncharacteristic for James Franklin-coached PSU teams, right?]
2-4 vs. UCLA
These two teams met six straight years from 1963-1968. PSU won the first and last meeting, and UCLA won the four in-between. UCLA finished in the top 5 in ‘65 and ‘66, and PSU finished #2 in ‘68.
misdreavus79: Penn State has played USC and UCLA about as much as they had some of the Big Ten teams prior to joining, so all’s well with me!
1-3 vs. USC
Purdue won the 1967 Rose Bowl 14-13. Bob Griese and the Boilers were a very good team, but were only in the Rose Bowl because of the no-repeat rule. Otherwise, 9-0-1 Michigan State, who routed Purdue 41-20, would’ve made the trip. Trailing 14-7, USC scored a fourth quarter TD, opted to go for two, and came up short. USC made the Rose Bowl with a 4-1 conference record over 3-1 UCLA, who had beaten USC head-to-head. In doing a little research on that controversy it seems like the 1973 and 1982 B1G seasons, combined.
USC won both ends of a 1975-1976 home-and-home, and also took the most recent matchup in the 1998 Kickoff Classic, 27-17. This was the first start in Drew Brees’s college career and the first appearance—though he didn’t start—for USC QB Carson Palmer. Unfortunately, it was a pretty sloppy game played in oppressive heat, so it’s wasn’t nearly as fun as it should’ve been.
0-3-2 vs. UCLA
Purdue hasn’t had much success in the John Wooden Bowl, though the most recent meeting was back in 1980. Though that September meeting was between two unranked teams, UCLA would finish 9-2 and #13, and Purdue would finish 9-3 and #17, so, in retrospect, a pretty good game. More infuriatingly for Purdue fans was 1979, when #5 Purdue—who would end the season 10-2/7-1 (beating Michigan) and #10 in final AP poll—lost to UCLA—who would finish 5-6—31-21 in the Rose Bowl.
BoilerUp89: I have no memory of any of these games as they all predate my college football watching. I will say that although Purdue got into the 67 Rose Bowl due to the no repeat rule, they were prevented from going to the 68 Rose Bowl due to the no repeat rule. So, it all worked out in the end.