The Rose Bowl Game; The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
USC (11-1) vs. Penn State (11-1)
January 1, 2009, 4:30 p.m. EST; The Line: Penn State +9
Does it get any better than this for the college football purist? This game has everything that a college football fan could want and it also has all the makings of bringing new fans to the game.
Two of the best programs, not just of this season but of all-time, match up on New Year's Day in "The Granddaddy of Them All." The all-time winningest coach squares of against the active coach wit the best winning percentage in what has all the makings of a classic.
While I know not everyone agrees with my take on this one, I will say I have personally seen Joe Paterno do a lot against better teams than this USC teams with less than he has to work with as far as this year's Penn State team. Nothing Joe Paterno does surprises me anymore.
The knock many have on Penn State is their strength of schedule. While that isn't something this team could control, what they can control is their performance against the schedule.
Penn State blew out just about everyone in all of their 11 wins with the exception of Ohio State, another BCS Bowl team, in Columbus and the 1 point loss at Iowa. Penn State has played exceptional football and is 1-0 against the Pac-10 this season after blowing out Oregon State, ironically the team that beat USC, 45-10, in a game that wasn't even as close as the lopsided score.
USC was in the driver's seat after beating Big Ten power Ohio State and went into Corvallis, Oregon and lost to Oregon State outright as 23-point favorites. USC is just a force on both sides of the ball, but if the Trojans have a weakness it is their inability to put teams away.
USC has won games and has been convincing in doing so but has been within the point spread much of the time when the games are on the road. Many feel this USC team is the best in the nation and should be playing in the BCS Championship Game.
See Mitch's Rose Bowl pick against the spread.