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Look at the Trojans’ 12 gridiron opponents in 2021

In 2020, the USC Trojans did not play either the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the Stanford Cardinal on the gridiron for the first time since 1945. USC did not play the California Golden Bears for the first time since 1925. It was a year unlike any other, a year which will be permanently seared into our minds as a time when Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson were all elite teams… and practically nothing else about college football was particularly familiar or recognizable.

In 2021, USC and the rest of the Pac-12 will almost certainly (we hope!) play a normal 12-game schedule again. Welcome back, Notre Dame! Welcome back, Stanford and Cal! The dates haven’t all been lined up, but USC does know the 12 opponents it will play, and it knows the nine-game Pac-12 schedule it is currently supposed to face.

Let’s take a look at the 2021 USC Trojans football schedule, as Clay Helton — sitting on the hot seat — tries to figure things out.

SAN JOSE STATE (SEPT. 4)

Dec 19, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia (91) pressures Stanford Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills (15) as he scrambles to throw a pass during overtime against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 19, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Washington State Cougars linebacker Jahad Woods (13) is consoled after their loss to the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 5, 2020; Tempe, Arizona, USA; UCLA Bruins offensive head coach Chip Kelly against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 19, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly leads his team on to the field for the game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 19, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (8) runs back an interception for a touchdown past Washington State Cougars running back Max Borghi (21) in the fourth quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2020; San Antonio, TX, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Dimitri Stanley (14) is pursued by Texas Longhorns defensive back Chris Adimora (1) in the second half during the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 11, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Grant Gunnell (17) fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive lineman Jermayne Lole (90) during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 19, 2020; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) celebrates with tight end Case Hatch (29) after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2020; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles with the ball against the UCF Knights during the first half at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) readies for the snap in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeated Clemson 47-40 in two overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 31, 2020; Tucson, AZ, USA; San Jose State Spartans head coach Brent Brennan with linebacker Tysyn Parker (9) against the Ball State Cardinals during the Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

ARIZONA STATE

Dec 19, 2020; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) celebrates with tight end Case Hatch (29) after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

COLORADO

Dec 29, 2020; San Antonio, TX, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Dimitri Stanley (14) is pursued by Texas Longhorns defensive back Chris Adimora (1) in the second half during the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UTAH

Dec 19, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (8) runs back an interception for a touchdown past Washington State Cougars running back Max Borghi (21) in the fourth quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON STATE

Dec 19, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Washington State Cougars linebacker Jahad Woods (13) is consoled after their loss to the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

ARIZONA

Dec 11, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Grant Gunnell (17) fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive lineman Jermayne Lole (90) during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

AT NOTRE DAME (OCT. 23)

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) readies for the snap in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeated Clemson 47-40 in two overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON STATE

Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, left, bats down a pass by Oregon State’s Tristan Gebbia during the second quarter in Corvallis.
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STANFORD

Dec 19, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia (91) pressures Stanford Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills (15) as he scrambles to throw a pass during overtime against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

CALIFORNIA

Nov 15, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Chase Garbers (7) passes the ball in the second half against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA

Dec 19, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly leads his team on to the field for the game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

BYU (NOV. 27)

Dec 22, 2020; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles with the ball against the UCF Knights during the first half at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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