Almost everything’s coming up roses for USC.
The 9th ranked Trojans were named Sunday to play in the 103rd Rose Bowl Game, where they will face Big Ten champion Penn State, on Jan. 2.
It was a bittersweet moment on the USC campus, still in mourning over the stabbing death of a much-respected professor Friday, allegedly by one of his students.
With Pac-12 champion Washington finishing fourth in the final College Football Playoff rankings, and taking a spot in the national collegiate playoffs, the Tournament of Roses was forced to select a replacement from the Pacific conference.
The game will be played on the first Monday of 2017 instead of Sunday, New Year’s Day. According to tradition, the Rose Bowl game is never played on Sundays.
The USC professor who was fatally stabbed on the school’s campus, allegedly by a student who was in custody, had taught there since 2001.
Authorities said the professor was targeted in Friday’s attack, and the murder was “not a random act of violence.”
The suspect, a 28-year-old student, was arrested and bail was set at $1 million.
The alleged assailant was identified as David Jonathan Brown of Los Angeles, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section.
The USC Department of Public Safety said he was arrested without incident.
“This was not a random act of violence,” according to a statement posted on the Department’s website. “The Los Angeles Police Department believes this was the result of a personal dispute.”
The murder sent a horrified chill through the USC campus community. The Los Angeles Times quoted a number of students as being scared and wary. One teaching assistant even said he’ll be more careful with his students and worry if he’s “going too hard on them.”
USC officials identified the victim as psychology professor Bosco Tjan, who was married and had a son, according to media reports and a letter to the campus community from USC President C.L. Max Nikias.
But his full name was Siaufung Tjan, 53, of Cerritos, according to Lt. Dave Smith of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.
It was the second fatal attack on a Los Angeles professor allegedly by someone in the academic community this year, as a similar incident took place at UCLA.
Tjan was a training faculty member in the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program. He was an expert on perception, vision and vision cognition and helped found the USC Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, where he served as co-director, USC officials said.
He received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Minnesota.
The stabbing was reported at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Seeley G. Mudd building in the 3600 block of McClintock Avenue, authorities said.
Tjan, who was stabbed in the chest, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The university issued an alert to students warning of police activity at the Mudd building, but made it clear there was no threat to the campus or surrounding community, the alert stated.
People were nonetheless warned to avoid the area.
The murder occurred on the final day of classes before finals.
While the professor’s murder was on the minds of most of the Trojan community, so too was the upcoming Rose Bowl.
The Rose-Bowl-bound Trojans were ninth in the final national AP rankings, which were released Sunday, one spot ahead of Colorado. But Colorado beat USC and won the Pac-10 South Division.
Penn State was ranked fifth by AP.
The Trojans will be making their first Rose Bowl Game appearance since 2009, when they defeated the Nittany Lions, 38-24, in what was also Penn State’s most recent appearance.
USC also faced the Nittany Lions in the 1923 Rose Bowl Game, the first played at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The Trojans won, 14-3, in a game that started 50 minutes late because the Penn State team was stuck in traffic.
USC will make its 33rd Rose Bowl Game appearance, the most appearance by any school. The Trojans have a 24-8 record in the Rose Bowl Game.
The Nittany Lions will make their fourth appearance in the Rose Bowl Game. They have a 1-2 record, with the lone victory in 1995 when they defeated Oregon, 38-20.
USC is 9-3, winning eight consecutive games after a 1-3 start.
Penn State is 11-2, winning nine consecutive games after a 2-2 start.
The game is being played on Jan. 2 because of Tournament of Roses’ “Never on Sunday” policy, which began with the Rose Parade, then extended to the football game.
Officials decide to move the 1893 Rose Parade to Monday, Jan. 2 to avoid frightening horses tethered outside of local churches, which would interfere with Sunday services, according to the tournament’s website.
It was 1922 when the next New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, and that year’s game was moved to the first Monday.
This will be the 14th time the Rose Bowl Game to be played on a Jan. 2, and first since 2012.
Additional tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m. Tuesday online at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 653-8000. Travel and ticket packages can be purchased online through PrimeSport.
— City News Service
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