Free Rose Bowl Pick: Penn State vs USC Under 45.5 – Thu Jan 1 ’09 5:00p
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I can hear the voice of the retired Keith Jackson right now in that deep and distinctive voice “It’s the Granddaddy of ‘em all”.
That’s the truth. In fact USC beat Penn State 14-3 in 1923 in what was then called the Tournament of Roses game. Fast forward to January 1, 2009. This years Rose Bowl games features #4 USC again #6 Penn State. The pressure is on the Trojans who are making their fourth straight Rose Bowl appearance. They’re favored by nine points in what is virtually a home game for them. An SC victory would give the Pac-Ten a perfect 5-0 record in the post-season.
Both teams were one score shy from playing for the national title. USC had its annual clunker against Oregon State while Penn State lost to Iowa on a last second field goal. Defenses are likely to dominate today. The Trojan D headed by future NFL stars Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Taylor Mays allowed the fewest points per game in the nation at 7.8 ppg No team has given up fewer points or total yards per game (206.1). The average of 122.8 passing yards allowed is particularly impressive because it’s nearly 37 better than any other team even though most of USC’s opponents had to throw a lot after falling well behind.
Don’t sell the Nittany Lions short went talking about defense. Penn State has been tough to score on as well allowing just 12.4 ppg. I’m already thinking UNDER!. I do share the belief of that a good defense will beat a good offense (unless that offense is Oklahoma’s).
On offense Penn State is averaging just over 40 points and USC 37.5. Both players have talented QB’ in Daryl Clark and Mark Sanchez. Clark has completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,139 yards. He’s also thrown for 17 touchdowns vs. just four picks.
If your a “stataholic” you’ll need these impressive numbers. Trojan signal-caller Mark Sanchez had a 159.1 quarterback rating, throwing for 30 touchdowns and 2,794 yards.Whether he’ll have the time to throw is another question. The rushing games are good for both teams. Penn States Evan Royster has gained 1,202 yards this season while the “tailback by committee” which includes Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable have combined to rush for 1,892 yards and 19 TD’s.
The two teams had one common opponent this year- Oregon State. The Nittany Lions destroyed the Beavers 45-14 back in September.
If your looking at which team is hotter coming into this years game, USC has won nine straight and that includes three shutouts and only one game in which their defense allowed more than ten points.
The line opened at USC -9 ½ and is still in that general vicinity. The total is set at 45 ½.
70 degree temperatures, clear skies and a light breeze are forecast for Pasadena. It will be one of those chamber of commerce days that will get everyone in cold weather destinations.
USC’s defense is playing for a place in history, More than a few College experts believe that if the Trojans can put the clamps on Penn State’s spread offense, these Trojan defenders could go down as one of the best squads ever. They’ll be ready and while a shutout probably isn’t in the cards, Penn State will be lucky to score 17. Take this game to go UNDER the total. USC wins and covers giving the big ten another post-season spanking.