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USC, UCLA go B1G: Must-watch games on the new college football schedule

The latest phase of college football realignment finds two LA-based schools in USC and UCLA making a bombshell move to the Big Ten Conference.

It's a seismic shift to say the least that will forever change the face not only of college football, but NCAA athletics itself in an ever-changing marketplace.

And while the move will have some effect on how fans have understood the sport for generations — not least the Rose Bowl Game — we should also get some very entertaining matchups on the field from now on.

Must-watch games on the new Big Ten college football schedule

1. Ohio State vs. USC

All-time football series: USC, 13-10-1
Last meeting: Ohio State won, 24-7

These two college football powerhouses haven't met that often on the same field, but when they did, it was usually at the Rose Bowl. 

But not since 1985, with the last four coming in the regular season and the Buckeyes' most recent victory at the Cotton Bowl.

That snapped a seven-game win streak for USC that went back to 1975 and the Trojans own the 4-3 edge in Rose Bowl games. Now this matchup will be a fixture of the regular season, adding a major boost to both school's quality of schedule.

+ Ohio State ranks No. 1 in college football history with a .731 win percentage, compared to USC at No. 8 all-time (.695).

+ Both schools have played in 53 bowl games, the sixth-most all-time, though USC owns the win pct advantage at 6th overall with a .642 win mark, compared to Ohio State's .491, which is 48th.

+ Ohio State is third all-time with 942 wins. USC is 10th with 856.

+ Ohio State is first all-time with 950 weeks in the AP Top 25 poll and second with 105 weeks at No. 1. USC is 6th with 787 weeks in the Top 25 and 5th with 91 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings.

Scenes before a college football game at Ohio State in the Big Ten.

Ohio State vs. USC will be one of the premier dates on the college football schedule

2. USC vs. Michigan

All-time football series: USC, 6-4
Last meeting: USC won, 32-18

Another home run matchup as far as history, prestige, and aesthetics go between two premier football programs that haven't met all that often over the years.

All but two of their previous matchups came in the Rose Bowl and USC has taken the last two and six of the last seven, most recently on New Year's Day 2007.

+ Both Michigan and USC place second in college football history with 11 claimed national championships.

+ Each are top 10 in win percentage, with Michigan placing fourth at .729 all-time.

+ Michigan is first all-time with 976 overall wins and third with 85 consensus All-American selections, compared with USC's 82 All-Americans.

+ Michigan is second all-time with 887 weeks in the AP top 25 college football rankings and is 12th with 34 weeks at No. 1 overall.

Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, one of the most successful coaches in college football history.

USC holds the edge over Michigan in their football series

3. Almost any team at UCLA

Granted, watching a Big Ten team play against UCLA on the field may not be the most pristine football you watch on a given Saturday.

But with the future of the Rose Bowl Game and it's century-plus of tradition anything but certain, these matchups will give us plenty of football to watch from Pasadena.

We should get a weekly slate of games from the Rose Bowl Stadium that fans have been accustomed to seeing just once a year, on New Year's Day.

And by having schools with large fan bases — the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, and Penn State — coming out west, it should be a little easier to fill the seats in that hallowed stadium, something UCLA hasn't done very well in recent memory.

The Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, arguably the most important place in college football history.

Big Ten teams will head west to Rose Bowl Stadium all season

4. Nebraska vs. USC

All-time football series: USC, 4-0-1
Last meeting: USC won, 45-42

USC took the most recent game against the Cornhuskers in the 2014 Holiday Bowl and the two before then in the regular season under head coach Pete Carroll.

This pair of college football blue-bloods haven't played their best since then and their futures aren't set in stone, but this game should be appointment viewing for fans who just like to see elite programs on the same field.

+ Nebraska is 8th in college football history with 908 wins compared with USC's 856.

+ USC is fourth all-time with six Heisman Trophy winners. Nebraska places sixth all-time with three.

+ Nebraska is 8th with 54 consensus All-American selections.

+ Both schools rank top 10 in NFL Draft selections, Nebraska at No. 10 with 366 draft picks and USC at No. 2 all-time with 520.

+ Nebraska is 8th all-time with 730 weeks in the AP top 25 college football rankings and is 7th with 70 weeks at the No. 1 spot.

Scenes at a college football game featuring the USC Trojans.

USC will play host to some elite Big Ten programs going forward

5. Penn State vs. USC

All-time football series: USC, 6-4
Last meeting: USC won, 52-49

USC took the last three, two of them in the Rose Bowl and Penn State took the three before that, two of them at Happy Valley in 1993 and '94.

This new matchup will afford both programs a chance to expand their reach, with USC coming east to line up at Beaver Stadium, always one of the most exciting and passionate stages in the sport, and the Nittany Lions going out west to play under the California sun for some exposure on the West Coast.

+ Penn State is 7th all-time with 909 wins and 9th with a .663 bowl win percentage.

+ The Nittany Lions are 7th with 375 NFL Draft picks and place No. 11 with 43 consensus All-American selections.

+ Penn State is 9th with 665 weeks in the AP top 25 college football rankings and place 17th all-time with 21 weeks at the No. 1 spot.

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