The USC Trojans have canceled their scheduled football game in 2021 with the UC Davis Aggies, USC athletic director Mike Bohn announced on 247Sports’ Peristyle Podcast.
Back in July 2019, USC announced that they would host UC Davis on in Los Angeles on Sept. 4, 2021. The contest would have been USC’s first-ever matchup against a team from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Only three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs have never sqaured off against a team from the FCS on the gridiron — Notre Dame, UCLA, and USC.
Rumors of USC possibly canceling the game came up a few months ago, but now it seems official.
“Well, I’m happy to tell you that we have informed UC Davis that we intend to cancel that game,” Bohn said. “We are in the final stages of formalizing an agreement with another FBS opponent to replace UC Davis, and I have to give our donors and fans a lot of the credit. When I arrived, I committed to listening and learning, and the feedback from our fans was clear. Preserving our history is critically important to us and to our fans, so we worked to make that happen.”
It’s not currently known who USC might add to replace UC Davis, but an in-state school now has an opening. San Jose State was scheduled to play at Georgia on Sept. 4, 2021, but Georgia canceled the game in order to play Clemson in Charlotte, N.C. Georgia will pay San Jose State $1.8 million for canceling the contest.
As for why USC decided to cancel the UC Davis game, it’s clear that the school was encouraged by fans and others to retain their history of never playing an FCS opponent.
“Well, I think it was clear our fans didn’t like it and our fans recognize that we’re one of only three institutions to have never played a team at that level, and I think that says a lot about ‘SC and our commitment to wanting to ensure that our fans see viable games and ensure that they have a great experience watching those games. They were really clear about it and, to be honest with you, I think there were a lot of people on campus that encouraged us to ensure that we could fix that as well.”
According to a copy of the USC-UC Davis game contract, USC will have to pay UC Davis $725,000 for canceling the game. If USC would have canceled the contract prior to Jan. 1, 2020, it would only have cost the Trojans $500,000.
USC’s non-conference schedule in 2021 also includes games at Notre Dame on Oct. 23 and home against BYU on Nov. 27. UC Davis’ slate now includes only one opponent — Dixie State at home on Sept. 18.