The 2017 USC football schedule is out, featuring a noticeable lack of a bye week, no Washington Huskies and two marquee non-conference games against MAC champ Western Michigan and national power Texas.
This is the first of two seasons in which USC will play Washington State instead of UW, a welcome trade for the Trojans, despite beating the Huskies 26-13 in Seattle last season. Meanwhile, they’ll open the season with MAC champion Western Michigan, fresh off the departure of hot-shot head coach PJ Fleck, who has departed for Minnesota.
All in all, it makes for a somewhat manageable run of 12 games, despite not having a bye week.
Here’s other notes from the 2017 USC football schedule:
The Pac-12’s four-year rotation changed for the 2017 season, as USC will now be going to Washington State and hosting Oregon State as they did in 2014. Previously, the Trojans alternated between the Oregons and Washingtons, traveling to the Oregon schools in odd years and the Washingtons in even years. This season’s layout is expected to be like 2013, when Lane Kiffin’s team lost to Washington State in Week 2 and beat Oregon State on the road under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. The home/road trade-off could be notable, as Washington State was 8-4 in 2016, compared Oregon State winning just four games.
USC’s home game against Oregon State gives the Trojans another opportunity to extend its 24-game home winning streak against the Beavers. They haven’t lost to OSU at the Coliseum since 1960, when the Beavers upset the No. 6 Trojans 14-0. Oregon State’s last win at the Coliseum overall was in 1971, when they beat UCLA 34-17.
By playing Stanford in Week 2, the Trojans and Cardinal will kick off the Pac-12 schedule for the fifth time in seven years since the conference expanded to 12 teams. Given that both teams play Notre Dame later in the year, plus a nine-game conference schedule in a 13-week period, it’s a scheduling quirk that is expected to continue. Prior to 2012, USC and Stanford had only played in September three times since the series began in 1905, and 2017’s September 9th game is the earliest the Cardinal will have ever played against Troy at the Coliseum.
The 2017 season marks the first time USC will not have a bye week since 1995, when John Robinson led the 9-2-1 Trojans to the Rose Bowl for an upset win over No. 3 Northwestern.
The last team to win a national championship without having a bye week during the regular season was Michigan in 1997. The Wolverines were off in Week 1, but then played 11-straight games to finish the year. The last team to play to 12-straight games –as USC will do in 2017– and win a national championship was Ohio State in 2002. They too were on bye in Week 1, however it followed a Week 0 win over Texas Tech in the Pigskin Classic. The Buckeyes played 13 regular season games that year.
For the first time since 2005 –the last time the Trojans appeared in a national championship game– USC will not play a game on Thanksgiving weekend. The November 18th game vs. UCLA is the earliest final regular season for the Trojans since beating the Bruins 27-0 on November 17, 2001.
USC is hosting Texas for the first time since beating the No. 5 Longhorns at the Coliseum in 1967. The Trojans are 4-0 against UT in the regular season, with their most recent meeting being in the 2006 Rose Bowl, won by Texas.
Moreover, Texas is the first Big 12 team to visit the Coliseum since Nebraska in 2006. Interestingly enough, of the current teams in the Big 12, only Kansas State has played at USC in the last 23 years, beating the Trojans 10-6 in 2001.
Western Michigan, who the Trojans open the season with, is the first MAC team USC will have ever played. In 2015, Arkansas State was the first Sun Belt team to ever play Troy, although USC had played Idaho eight times previously, all before joining the Sun Belt in 2014.