USC to face first FCS opponent in 2021

Field Level Media

July 13, 2019 at 6:20 pm.

Southern California will play its first-ever FCS opponent when it hosts UC Davis in 2021.

Davis was one of three future opponents announced by the Trojans, joining Nevada in 2023 and San Jose State in 2024.

Notre Dame and UCLA are the only other Football Bowl Subdivision teams that have never played a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.

USC’s associate athletic director, Steve Lopes, told The Athletic in May that the school wants to play seven home games each season. And he warned that to do so, the Trojans were going to need to be creative in their scheduling.

“For us, it’s seven home games, seven home games, seven home games, seven home games,” he said. “You have a finite list of places you look at and we’re going to test the waters when we announce these three games because we’re going to do something a little bit different but we want to try to make sure we have those seven home games from here.”

At the time, Lopes didn’t name the nonconference opponents but added this:

“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.”

The Trojans will meet the Aggies on Sept. 4, 2021.

The Aggies are coached by Dan Hawkins, the former head coach at Boise State and Colorado, and finished 10-3 in 2018. They play in the Big Sky Conference.

“That USC agreed to play UC Davis as its first-ever FCS opponent signifies the respect they have for our team and university,” Aggies athletic director Kevin Blue said in a statement. “It is deserved recognition of the upward trajectory of our football program under the guidance of Coach Hawkins.”