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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
USC vs. SEC: Not happening anytime soon


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Just imagine: It's the first Saturday in September, and USC is standing in "The Swamp" eyeballing the Florida Gators.

Does that sound like something you'd be interested in? Is that a game you'd clear your calendar for?

Or what about LSU swaggering into the Coliseum?

Goose bumps. Let's settle that 2003 grudge once and for all.

Is there anything college football needs more -- other than a playoff -- than a USC regular-season matchup with an elite SEC team?

The answer is no.

And the likelihood of it happening anytime soon is practically nil, at least outside of a national championship game.

Nuts.

The earliest it could happen, according to USC's senior associate athletic director, Steve Lopes -- the man charged with the Trojans' football scheduling -- is 2015.

Again, nuts.

Oh, there have been conversations, but nothing went very far. And because scheduling is sensitive and complicated, no one wanted to talk on the record about specific potential matchups that fell by the wayside.

"We've talked to a lot, if not all, of the SEC schools about playing in the future," Lopes said. "I can't get into who said yes and who said no, but we have conversations with a lot of schools. Scheduling is a hard thing because sometimes you want to play each other but it doesn't work out from a timing standpoint."

USC is 4-0 vs. the SEC under coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans outscored Auburn and Arkansas 167-38 in those home-and-home matchups, including a 23-zip win at then-No. 6 Auburn in 2003 and a 50-14 bludgeoning of the eventual SEC West Division champion Razorbacks in 2006. 

Out on the West Coast, folks believe that has a lot to do with the lack of an SEC-USC game.

What's also disappointing is the Trojans' future nonconference schedules don't feature a marquee matchup similar to the series with Ohio State, which concludes Sept. 12 in Columbus.

2010: at Hawaii, Virginia, at Minnesota

2011: Minnesota, Syracuse

2012: Hawaii, at Syracuse

2013: at Hawaii, Boston College

Of course, the Trojans do play Notre Dame every year.

And it's not like USC isn't willing to work with folks who put games together.

"They are a football scheduler's dream," said Dave Brown, ESPN's Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions. "They are one of the rare schools that continues to play all of their nonconference games -- in most years -- against BCS teams ... If everybody did it that way, it would certainly be a lot easier for us to schedule games."

So maybe we should just starting angling for 2015?