USC will destroy Penn State University in the 2009 BCS Rose Bowl scheduled for January 1, 2009, 4:30 p.m. ET at Pasadena. The traditional Big 10 versus Pac 10 matchup will be yet another showcase of USC NFL-Ready talent over the reeling old school Big 10 power conference. The University of Southern California will be looking to send a clear message of dominance to voters and Bowl Championship Series officials.
Both one-loss teams arrive at the Rose Bowl courtesy of a 2009 Bowl Championship Series that has been favorable to SEC and Big 12 schools. Interestingly, #5 USC and #6 Penn State trail Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama – all one-loss stalwarts in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
USC was upset early this season at Corvallis 21-27 to Oregon State, while Penn State was stunned 24-23 by a last-second field goal at Iowa. The shocking losses crushed all BCS National Championship aspirations in Happy Valley and Los Angeles.
Voters could never forgive USC’s top-ranked defense for being gashed at the line of scrimmage by the upstart Beavers; and commentators fresh with the memories of Ohio State’s 2007 and 2008 BCS title game meltdowns versus Florida and LSU were quick to dismiss Penn State as unworthy National Championship contenders following a close loss to its Big 10 brethren.
Whereas Big 10 football has proven to be an obsolete product unable to compete with the power conferences under the bright-light glare of the national stage – I must argue that USC has been unfairly punished by its own sweeping success. Pete Carroll is assembling a machine-like football factory at Southern California of monopolistic recruiting of the talent-rich L.A. Basin, uber competitive practice drills, pro-style play calling, and outright dominance of the NCAA in the Bowl Championship Series era.
Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and Reggie Bush are USC legends representing 3 out-of-the 7 past Heisman Trophy winners. Of course, USC is a stellar 5-1 in BCS Bowls and has appeared in two BCS National Championship Games – its only loss marked by an epic 2006 Rose Bowl matchup versus the Texas Longhorns.
Pete Carroll owns the Bowl Championship Series. Pete Carroll owns the Rose Bowl. Pete Carroll owns the Big 10 Conference:
2004 BCS Rose Bowl:USC 28 – Michigan 14
2005 BCS Championship: USC 55 – Oklahoma 19
2007 BCS Rose Bowl: USC 32 – Michigan 18
2008 BCS Rose Bowl: USC 49 – Illinois 17
September 13, 2008: USC 35 – Ohio State 3
The #1 ranked Trojans at the time lost to Oregon State in the third week of the season and were unceremoniously dropped from title contention. Meanwhile, The Florida Gators are defeated at home by unranked Mississippi and are now set to play in the BCS National Championship on the strength of winning the SEC.
The Southeastern Conference has been acknowledged as the premier league from top-to-bottom, while USC is unfairly dismissed as an otherworldly power that lords over nine other West Coast cupcakes. The voters and computers have spoken: any USC loss to a Pac 10 cream puff is unacceptable under all circumstances.
I must speculate that the garish, annual USC upsets to the likes of Stanford, UCLA, and Oregon State are a function of familiarity, rather than talent. These rival Pac 10 schools relish the idea of mixing it up with this power and dashing all SoCal title hopes. The campuses at Eugene, Seattle, and Tempe rally around the yearlong battle cry of beating USC and their football players feed upon this energy. The University of Southern California must endure the full-blown assault of every Pac 10 opponent every game, every year.
USC has been unfairly punished and railroaded into this Rose Bowl consolation prize.
USC is agitated. This means bad things for Penn State University.
Ironically, defense sets the tone at Tailback U. this year. The stout unit lacks any significant weakness. Rey Maualuga, winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football anchors the group at middle linebacker. In fact, this 2008-2009 edition must be entertained within any conversation and serious argument describing the ‘best defense of all time.’
The Trojans have shut down all comers – limiting opponents to 7.8 points and a meager 206 yards per game.
Pete Carroll’s successful blueprint for throttling the Big 10 Conference is not reliant upon trickery or gimmick schemes. USC will overpower the Nittany Lions simply due to the talent and speed disparity between the clubs.
Multipurpose threat Derrick Williams and starting tailback Evan Royster may be the only members of the Penn State roster that would receive significant playing time as Trojans. We highlight the term ‘significant playing time’ as it is doubtful that 1,200-yard Penn State rusher Royster would claim the starting position within the talented stable of USC backs.
We have seen this movie before. We have seen the Big 10 Conference destroyed and exposed as obsolete in every significant matchup since the 2002 Ohio State – Miami BCS Fiesta Bowl. We have seen Pete Carroll and his USC Trojans inflict large amounts of damage to the reputation of the Big 10 by routing Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio State in BCS Rose Bowls and hyped ‘showdowns’ that degenerated into lopsided blowouts by halftime.
Penn State junior Quarterback Daryll Clark and the Spread HD offense will be unable to mount any semblance of an attack against the vaunted, swarming USC defense. I am foreshadowing that 6’3 230 safety Taylor Mays will patrol the middle and disrupt the timed crossing patterns of the shotgun spread with reckless, hard-hitting intimidation.
Offensively, the Mark Sanchez to Damian Williams connection looms large as a threat to score from anywhere on the field and the rangy 6’5 Patrick Turner will give the Penn State secondary fits in the red zone on fade routes.
The stacked stable of backs is almost unfair. Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, and CJ Gable have all rushed for over 600 yards this season. These change-of-pace backs share carries and remain fresh throughout the game. Individually, these players could start for any NCAA power and each member of the Southern California backfield is capable of reeling off big yardage on every down.
Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno 82, all-time leader in coaching victories with 383, and grandfather to 16 is indeed bracing himself for this 2009 BCS Rose Bowl Granddaddy of ’em all:
“Southern Cal is a very, very impressive football team. They do everything well. I hope we can go out there and be competitive with them. I’m a little bit nervous.”
USC rolls, shellacking Penn State and the Big 10 with another prime time embarrassment.
2009 BCS Rose Bowl Prediction:
USC – 42
Penn State – 7
2009 BCS Fiesta Bowl Prediction Texas 56 – Ohio State 13