“The way you win a Pac-12 championship is to win your Pac-12 games,” said Steve Lopes, USC’s senior associate athletic director and the point man for USC’s scheduling. “The way you win a national championship is to go through the (College Football Playoff).
“We think, knowing what we know and having to play Notre Dame and nine Pac-12 games, the best way is to play as many home games as you can. Because your record at home, you can look over time, is always better.”
USC is pushing for seven home games three out of every four years. Lopes said this serves a couple of purposes. The first being seven home games is a more advantageous route to the CFP. The second is that the school just put $315 million into Coliseum renovations and wants to play games at home, in front of its own fans.
“If you start looking at the teams that are available, it’s very limited,” Lopes said. “We’re looking at schools that might not even be FBS, which I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. We may get criticized if and when we do it, but everybody does it. … Are you going to die on that sword? You can play very good FCS schools that are better than some of the FBS schools you’ll play, the directional schools you’ll play.”
Four or five years ago, he said, he approached Fresno State, which was in the midst of three consecutive losing seasons. Now it could possibly serve as a tough opener for the Trojans.
“They’re a good school, they’re a good solid program,” Lopes said. “When we had that conversation with Fresno State and they were willing to come here three times over a six-year period, I thought that was a good get to have on our schedule.”
The Bulldogs will visit the Coliseum in 2022 and 2025 as well — Antonio Morales — The Athletic.
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