Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
No. 9 USC (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 5 Penn State (11-2, 8-1 Big Ten)
Jan. 2 – 5 p.m., ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Average Line: USC, -7
Penn State was one of the more impressive stories in all of college football this season.
After starting off the season with a 2-2 record, the Nittany Lions won their next nine games. The highlight was an upset of Ohio State in Happy Valley and a win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
Saquon Barkley is one of the top running backs in the Big Ten and maybe even the country. Quarterback Trace McSorley has also been a pleasant surprise and is one of the more dangerous dual-threat signal callers around.
Flip the script and USC has gone on a similar roll in 2016.
The Trojans started out 1-3 with early season losses at the hands of Alabama, Stanford, and Utah. Instead of letting the year slip away, they ripped off eight consecutive wins, including over top 10 teams like Colorado and Washington.
True freshman quarterback Sam Darnold is part of the reason for that as he tossed 26 touchdowns this season. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a phenomenal target to throw to in wideout Juju Smith Schuster.
This is going to be one of the most fun Rose Bowls in quite some time.
Prediction: USC wins 38-24
All betting information/lines via oddsshark.com