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What the USC move to the Big Ten means for Notre Dame football rivalry

Notre Dame and USC have met almost every year since 1926 in what's called the greatest intersectional rivalry in sports.

Now that USC, along with UCLA, is joining the Big Ten in 2024, what does that mean for the Trojans' annual game against the Fighting Irish?

Apparently, the game is still on.

USC vs. Notre Dame isn't going anywhere

"USC plans to continue its annual tradition of playing Notre Dame," according to Arash Markazi of ESPN Radio.

"The storied football rivalry began in 1926 and will continue with USC in the Big Ten. A lot will obviously change with USC leaving the Pac-12 but the Trojans will still play UCLA and Notre Dame every season."

That's very good news for fans of those schools, in addition to college football purists, who are clinging to any stability in the sport amid what are major, permanent changes.

USC and Notre Dame have played each other 92 times and the Fighting Irish currently own the 50-37-5 advantage all-time.

That includes the last four straight in Notre Dame's favor. Before then, USC took two of the previous three and dominated the series with eight straight wins from 2002-09.

Big Ten might not be finished

USC will also look to maintain some of its historic football rivalries outside the Big Ten. Or inside the Big Ten, if that conference keeps its foot on the pedal.

"Stanford may join the Big Ten too or both schools could look to continue a football rivalry that dates back to 1905," Markazi said.

He went on to add, "USC and UCLA won't be the only teams west of Nebraska in the Big Ten."

That runs in line with other reporting that suggests the Big Ten may get more aggressive and pursue further expansion to the West Coast.

Other current Pac-12 properties that could make the jump include Washington and Oregon in addition to Stanford, as the Big Ten is looking to include institutions on academic grounds as well as athletic ones.

Is Notre Dame in play, too?

With the latest news of college football realignment, all eyes naturally turn towards Notre Dame, which has steadfastly maintained its independence through the years.

There has been some speculation that the school may finally join a conference amid the most recent changes, but some things stand in the way of that.

One, is that Notre Dame has a lucrative contract with NBC to show its home games. And two, the school still feels it has a credible path to the College Football Playoff as an independent.

If either of those were to change, however, Notre Dame could potentially consider membership in a conference. The school is already an ACC member in sports other than football, so that league may be a logical destination.

But considering the ACC's current revenue situation, placing third well behind the Big Ten and SEC, Notre Dame could pull out entirely, pay the ACC's huge exit fee, and join the Big Ten instead.

However, that's all still complete speculation. But in the current environment, anything appears possible.

(h/t Arash Markazi)

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