David Shaw, Justin Wilcox hope to continue playing USC and UCLA
LOS ANGELES — Stanford coach David Shaw and Cal head coach Justin Wilcox hope to continue seeing USC and UCLA on the football field even after their move to the Big Ten in 2024.
That was clear Friday at the league’s annual Media Day event at the Novo Theater in L.A. There are still two years to work through before the duo ditch the Pac-12 for the midwest and a bucket of cash. There’s plenty of time for all sides to figure out how to make longstanding rivalry games carry over. There are plenty of examples of in-state counterparts playing each other despite being living in different leagues.
“Surprised about the news in our conference, but my hope is, as I’ve been saying all year, our relationship with USC and UCLA doesn’t change, that we continue to play each other even if they’re out-of-conference games,” Shaw said. “These are long-standing rivalries that I hope that we maintain. I’m still a firm believer that over time these things will self-correct, whether that’s 10, 15, 20 years down the road.”
Save for the 2020 season when schedules across the country were torn apart by COVID, Stanford and USC have played each other every year since 1946. UCLA and Cal have played each other every year since 1933. These games have been fixtures.
But we’ve seen recently where conference realignment brought an axe to traditions. With Oklahoma moving to the SEC, Oklahoma State has said it doesn’t think the rivalry will continue on the football field once the two programs are in different conferences. The Cowboys’ head coach, Mike Gundy, said last fall he doesn’t know if it’ll work.
Wilcox took a different approach, saying those decisions will be made above his head but he’s all for continuing the series in whatever way necessary.
“I’m all for playing whoever’s on the schedule, to be honest with you. I don’t know if they’re going to ask me. If they do, I’ll give them my opinion,” he said. “So, yeah. Sure, put them on there. Let’s play. Two great programs. Love to play ’em.”
With Shaw being a Stanford alum, that history matters to him.
“I’m sad to a certain degree about not being in the same conference in a few years with USC and UCLA because those have been a big part of the Pac-10, Pac-8, Pac-12 story,” he said. “Selfishly being a Stanford alum, a lot of great games between Stanford and UCLA and USC. As I said earlier, my hope is we continue to play those two programs even if they are out-of-conference games.”