On Thursday, we learned that USC and USC plan on leaving the Pac 12 conference to join the Big 10 conference starting in 2024. Some programs will benefit from this latest round of conference realignment, and I believe that the program that will benefit the most will be the Penn State Nittany Lions. And here are the reasons why.
More eyes on the brand
Penn State Football is undoubtedly the biggest college football brand on the east coast, with its fan base, its alumni over the country, and the school’s winning tradition. With two Los Angeles-based teams that are in the conference, the Big Ten now has the second-largest media market in the country and will be able to see Penn State athletics year-round. The conference will now be a superpower that will only be rivaled by the Southeastern Conference.
With the additions of USC and UCLA, the Big Ten will be home to the following media markets:
New York (number one sized media market)
Los Angeles (number-two sized media market)
Chicago (number-three sized media market)
Philadelphia (number-four sized media market)
Washington (number-nine sized media market)
Minnesota (No. 14 sized media market)
Detroit (No. 15 sized media market)
Cleveland (No. 19 sized media market)
Indianapolis (No. 25 sized media market)
Penn State has access to the top four media markets in the country, five of the top ten, and nine of the top 25 media markets in the country. The Big Ten was already poised to be the first conference to eclipse $1 billion annually in media rights, but the Los Angeles market, they could double that amount.
If I were new Penn State athletic director Patrick Kraft, I would be trying to contact USC AD Mike Bohn and UCLA AD Martin Jarmond immediately to strike a deal to play USC and UCLA every year. If Penn State has a yearly matchup against USC and UCLA will do wonders in recruiting in California.
Imagine every two years a recruit from California will watch the Trojans play Penn State in a White Out game and witness that experience and dream to be a part of the experience in Happy Valley. Then when Penn State plays in California, which would likely be in November, James Franklin and his staff can use the opportunity to make an impression on recruits in time for Early Signing Day. Penn State already has reaped the benefits of recruiting in the south with their home and home series with Auburn, and they will benefit on the West Coast with a yearly trip to California.
A Penn State-USC yearly matchup would be one of the most heavily anticipated matchups of the season in all of college football. College football needs an east coast versus west coast rivalry, and these two teams will be able to provide that.
Getting away from Ohio State and Michigan
I think Penn State needs to get away from a yearly matchup with Ohio State and Michigan, not because they are always tough games on their schedule, but because they always seem to have a superiority complex over them. Penn State has teams they have rivalries in the Big Ten, but Penn State is still considered an outsider in the eyes of old-school Big Ten fans. After 30 years in the conference, its feels like they are the still the in the shadows of the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Ohio State- Michigan will always be the game marked on each others’ schedules, and Penn State will always feel secondary. With USC, however, that would be the matchup that can finally rival Ohio State-Michigan as the marquee game on the Big Ten conference slate.