If Moving to the B1G is so Great, Why is Oregon Out-Recruiting USC?

David Marsh Editorials

It’s hard to ignore USC fans these days, as most of them seem far too happy about joining the B1G. They gleefully lord it over the rest of the Pac-12 as they seem to take some perverse joy out of the fact that they may have brought upon the demise of their current conference rivals. Which is rather pathetic when you think about it, because it’s not that USC has been all too dominant on the field for the last decade, but they are cheering the defeat of their rivals because they stabbed the conference in the back and are going to the B1G instead.

It’s just sad.

In this day and age, rivalries come at a premium and take decades to foster with the right amount of respect and hate — or in the case of the Huskies, all hate. It has taken a better part of the last 10 years for Oregon and Utah to develop a rivalry, and while the Utes aren’t our main rivals, I think we can all safely say they are our rivals. After all, in 2019 we blocked their Conference Championship and a shot at the playoff, and then in 2021 they did the same to us.

So USC is headed to the B1G, and they are bringing UCLA from across town along for the ride. But if this move is so great, as most of their fans seem to be saying, why is Oregon still beating them on the recruiting trail? USC fans are quick to say they will be in a relevant conference while the Ducks will be left in a conference teetering on the abyss, and players are just itching to join a team in the prestigious B1G.

It was a major steal that Oregon managed to land De’Anthony Thomas right from under USC.

Maybe that is true, but why not sign with Ohio State or Michigan instead? Both of those teams have reached the playoff multiple times and they’ll be playing in the Midwest, so playing at a school at the heart of the B1G comes with significantly less travel time.

But if the west coast’s best talent wants to stay and play on the west coast, then oddly enough the LA schools aren’t necessarily the answer, especially if they don’t like the prospect of going to Michigan or Iowa or Wisconsin, or really any other B1G team in November. The option is clear; come to Oregon.

It would seem that recruits are hearing this message as Oregon is out-recruiting USC right now — and many of those recruits are coming right out of USC’s backyard. As it stands right now on Rivals, Oregon sits at No. 6 in the country with USC at No. 54. Oregon leads the rest of the Pac-12 by a mile currently, though USC is not considered a part of the Pac-12 for the 2024 rankings. This difference also holds true on 247 Sports’ current rankings.

USC used their move to the B1G as a selling point in the 2023 recruiting cycle and a few recruits even said that’s part of the reason why they signed with USC. It doesn’t seem to be a big selling point for the 2024 recruiting cycle, though we are still early in the cycle and a long way from signing day — but many of those in the Top 10 of Rivals’ rankings are all programs that have a history of recruiting well and have National Championship ambitions.

The last time Oregon played a regular season against USC was 2019 and Juwan Johnson made them look foolish.

USC will sign a good class by signing day. They have plenty of backing in terms of NIL, and Lincoln Riley is a good recruiter, so they will put together a good class. But they aren’t just losing out to Oregon right now, who they won’t even share a conference with after this season. They are also losing out to Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern — all of whom rank ahead of USC in the Rivals rankings. USC should beat out all but the first three on that list in the end, but the fact that they are trailing all of them right now on Rivals should be alarming for USC fans.

The B1G isn’t going to be the Pac-12 but with a bigger paycheck.

Oregon is going to have a much easier road to the playoff in the next few years as Dan Lanning and the Ducks aren’t in the same league as the rest of the conference in terms of recruiting. Sure, they are going to need to achieve the results on the field as Utah, Washington and Oregon State are going to pose problems on a year-to-year basis regardless, but conference dominance is in sight. That is, of course, assuming the Pac-12 will continue to exist as a conference.

But even if the Pac-12 does cease to exist, Oregon is a big brand and will find a home in the B1G most likely. At that point they will be recruiting directly against USC again. Either way, as Ducks fans we will happily take as many of the prized athletes out of USC’s backyard as possible. They can tell us that we are in a sinking conference, which may or may not be true, but Oregon fans will welcome USC to Autzen Stadium this fall for the last time in we don’t know how long. And here’s hoping that it’s Trojan tears on Rich Brooks Field by the end of it.

David Marsh
Portland, Oregon
Top Photo By: UO Athletics


Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the medical technology industry in SLC, Utah.

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