The agreement with Notre Dame keeps the nation's most storied rivalry alive and also ensures that USC continues to host the Irish on Thanksgiving weekend in even-numbered years and plays in South Bend in October in odd-numbered years.
The Trojans will travel to Provo to play the Cougars in September 2019, then host BYU on Thanksgiving weekend in both 2021 and 2023. USC last played BYU in 2003 and 2004 on its way to back-to-back national championships.
The addition of Idaho, Arkansas State and New Mexico points to a bit of a departure in USC's scheduling philosophy. The Trojans have traditionally played more challenging out-of-conference opponents. For instance, in 2006, USC played Nebraska, Arkansas and Notre Dame in its out-of-conference slate and, in 2008, the Trojans played Virginia, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
But in 2015, USC will play Idaho, Arkansas State and Notre Dame. With the four-team playoff likely to take strength of schedule heavily into account, is USC softening up its slate at exactly the wrong time?