WEEKLY SPORTS WRAP-UPS – Jan 4th, 2007
The Bowl Season. Every year we are served with a couple dozen matchups based on how much money the hosts can squeeze out of college football fans, evident in the Emerald Bowl with 6-6 Florida St. versus 7-5 UCLA. Seriously, who, outside of Tallahassee and Westwood, would care to see that game? Of course, this was a pre-New Year’s Day Bowl, therefore irrelevant. Come the 1st, we are then treated with some epic matchups, including The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl.
#8 USC faced off against #3 Michigan in what was probably the most anticipated bowl game outside of the title game. Both teams, coming off a season ending loss that kept both teams out of the title game, came in with a lot of anger and frustration. In what was considered the “Consolation Bowl” in some circles, two of the best defenses in the nation faced off on a bright California day. Vegas thought it was a toss up, thinking that the teams were too even to make any distinction between the two storied programs. But somebody had to win. Honestly, was there any real doubt about this?
The Trojans came away from Pasadena with a convincing 32-18 victory over the Wolverines of Michigan. The first half transpired as expected, with both defenses controlling the game early, with the half ending in a 3-3 tie. Both teams looked like they were slowly trying to get a feel for one another.
The pundits gave Michigan the edge in their pre-game “analyses,” saying the experience and size of their offense will eventually prevail. Well, size does matter, but speed kills. Just like the Rose Bowl three years ago, where the Trojans were considered undersized in comparison to the Wolverines but won, 28-14, the speed of Southern California was just too much for the boys from Ann Arbor. This year’s Rose Bowl matchup saw the Trojan defense hounding Michigan quarterback Chad Henne for six sacks and constant pressure all day, and holding Heisman hopeful Mike Hart to his lowest rushing yardage output by far all year at 47.
After another one of Pete Carroll’s famous second half adjustments, came out and scored 16 unanswered points in the third quarter, and never looked back. The Wolverines scored on a 11 yard touchdown pass from Henne to Adrian Arrington, but two touchdown passes by Booty sealed the deal. USC’s John David Booty threw for 391 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions, with Dwayne Jarrett pulling in two of those TDs. Jarrett, the most prolific receiver in Pac-10 history, is most likely going to the NFL next year, especially after his 11 catch, 205 yard performance in the Rose Bowl. The Trojan faithful could be heard chanting “one more year” during his post game interview. Lets just hope he was listening.
With such a convincing victory over the #3 Wolverines, the Trojans in all likelihood will start next season as the preseason #1, with 17 of the 22 starters coming back, 10 on a defense that dominated one of the most balanced offenses in the nation. Jarrett, who would probably be the second wide receiver to go in the draft after Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson, could come back and be a Heisman favorite next year, but if I was him, I wouldn’t. He already won a national title, holds numerous school and conference records, and with promises of millions next year, hell, would you go back to school if you were him?