Happy New Year to all of you from all of us at Conquest Chronicles!
I can't get a get a good read on this game. I have looked at all the stats, read all the pundits hyperbole, read and listened to people make fools of themselves on the radio, TV, blogs and message boards to the point that I don't know what to believe.
Once again ESPN is trying to pump up the USC defense as the BEST EVER. I hate that, yes we have a great defense but so does PSU. Our offense has shown itself to be so-so at times. Yes, there have been some games where the offense was lights out but they had some poor performances (for the talent amassed) too. That to me will be where the game is won.
I am normally a glass half full kind of guy but that is only when I have no doubt of an outcome.There have been just too many distractions going on for me to be comfortable to predict a solid win. From Sarkisian leaving and taking other members of the football staff with him, to all the talk of a number of underclassmen leaving for the NFL, to a number of pundits and fans thinking that USC is disappointed to be playing in ANOTHER Rose Bowl instead of a different bowl game (they said that about Illinois too BTW), so it could all add up to possibly being a very difficult day for SC.
PSU is a good team but lets not mistake that for them being anything other than the Big 10 Champs that they are. They suffer from the same thing that SC does, a less than stellar conference around them...I still can't say with any definitive claim if they are better than the 2006 Michigan team that missed the BSC title game after a late loss to tOSU. I have seen where PSU fans think SC's defense is overrated because of a down Pac-10. That's logical as the Pac-10 has some real stinkers this year but its not like the Big 10 stocked with numerous teams that would contend for the MNC year in and year out. PSU, like SC, lost on the road to a team that ddn't do much during the season, at least Oregon St. was condending for the Pac-10 Crown. Heck, it was only a few short years ago that the PSU faithful wanted JoPa's head on a pike for some less that stellar seasons. They have put it all together now and come to Pasadena with a purpose.
Plaschke popped off yesterday in saying that he thought SC was coming into this game too loose. He still doesn't get it...USC is comfortable playing in the Rose Bowl. They have the routine down and know how to handle all that will go on around them while PSU hasn't been here in a while so I would expect them to come in with a more consevative button down approach. Make no mistake SC will be prepared to play but it would be a mistake for the PSU faithful to think that because we don't follow the same routine we aren't taking them seriously, that's a mistake. PSU fans also like to point to the fact that they beat Oregon St. in a blowout and that we lost to them in some sort of dominating fashion. That's flawed logic on their part...because the flip side is that we smoked Ohio State and they barely beat them... that sort of argument just doesn't wash with me.
Pete Carroll does get his teams up for the big games...it's the supposed "easy" games where the team sometimes mails it in. I think SC wins today but I think it will be a close, moderately scoring game. I do not see them covering the spread and I do not see either team racking up major points.
To me this is the best game of all the Bowl games. The teams are evenly matched in greatest Bowl game of all time. I magine if this game was in another bowl game like the Fiesta or the Sugar the hype building up to the game would be incredible. The Pac-10/Big 10 forced tradional match-up's need to be put to bed in favor of the best match-up. We will have that this year!
Make your predictions here...
USC 23 - PSU 20