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Illinois hasn’t played USC or UCLA that much

Not many matchups between the Illini and the Big Ten’s newest members.

Rose Bowl - Illinois v USC Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Like it or not, here they come.

In 2024, USC and UCLA will become the 15th and 16th members of the Big Ten (?).

While it’s not clear just yet what the move means for scheduling/divisions in conference play, it is clear that Illinois will play the Bruins and Trojans at least once in a while.

So, let’s check out where these “rivalries” currently stand in football and men’s basketball.


Illinois and UCLA each have six wins.

You didn’t see that coming, huh?

These teams played five times between 1946-58, and then another three times from 2003-11, including that Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl that none of us will ever forget.

Illinois won that game 20-14, meaning the Illini enter this new era on a winning streak!

USC leads the series 11-2.

Ah, yes, that’s more like it.

Some of these losses (*cough* 55-3 in 1996) are embarrassing. Others are just downright dreadful, including Illinois’ last Rose Bowl appearance in 2008 — a 49-17 loss.

Illinois does have two wins here: a 19-0 shutout in 1935, and a 14-13 win in the ‘80s.

As long as Lincoln Riley is at the helm, this probably won’t get better any time soon.

Men’s Basketball

UCLA leads the all-time series 6-3.

Illinois and UCLA haven’t played since late 1997, which was a 74-69 UCLA win. All three of Illinois’ wins came in the Land of Lincoln — and in three different buildings. The Illini won in Huff Hall in 1951; in Assembly Hall in 1964; and in Chicago in late ‘96.

Illinois leads the all-time series with USC, 1-0.

The Illini crushed USC in 2012, 94-64.

That’s it!

Hopefully, Bill Walton is on a few Illini calls in the future.