Ohio State Football: Where in Big Ten hierarchy will USC, UCLA fall?

The Ohio State football program will get two new teams to face in the Big Ten starting next season when USC and UCLA join the conference. It’s still taking me a while to get over the weirdness that two schools from California are now in a conference that started out as Midwest-based, but whatever.

Once those two schools do arrive in 2024, things will get tougher for the current teams in the Big Ten. The question is, how much tougher will they get? How good are USC and UCLA as football programs right now and where will they fall on the hierarchy of Big Ten teams?

UCLA is a middle-tier program. They are probably on par with Minnesota or Iowa right now. They are good enough to be talked about nationally every few years, but not good enough to actually be a threat to win a conference championship. They will be somewhere between the fifth and eighth-best team in the league.

USC is a different story. Despite the fact that they have made a mess of their athletic director situation, they are a really good football program under Lincoln Riley. They just missed out on the College Football Playoff last year and let the Ohio State football team get in instead.

Once the Trojans join the Big Ten, they become the third-best program in the conference. They still sit behind Ohio State and Michigan but will be ahead of Penn State. Until USC is consistently in the CFP, they won’t overtake either of the top two spots.

I’m interested to see how both USC and UCLA will fit into the conference in 2024. I want to see how the Big Ten figures out the scheduling aspect of things as well. Until then, the Buckeyes have one more year of relatively easy Big Ten scheduling.