The USC Trojans enter a college football game. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
The USC Trojans enter a college football game. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

USC is going to the Rose Bowl!

The Trojans were selected to play in the 103rd Rose Bowl Game where they will face Big Ten champion Penn State on Jan. 2 in both teams first appearances in the game since 2009.

“When you’re at USC, this is what you live for is to play in this football game,” Trojans coach Clay Helton said. “I’ve had, I think, the entire football team text or tweet or (reach) out. They’re so excited to have this opportunity.”

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said his team was “fired up” when it learned Sunday it would be playing in the Rose Bowl Game.

With Pac-12 champion Washington finishing fourth in the final College Football Playoff rankings and a receiving a spot in the playoff, the Tournament of Roses was forced to select a replacement from the conference.

While the tournament traditionally selects the next-highest ranked team from the conference, it is not obligated to do so, according to Rose Bowl Management Committee Chair Scott Jenkins.

At ninth, USC was the next highest-ranked Pac-12 team, one spot ahead of Colorado which won the Pac-10 South Division and had a 10-3 record to the Trojans’ 9-3 mark. USC defeated the Buffaloes 21-17 on Oct. 8.

The Nittany Lions received their Rose Bowl Game berth by beating Wisconsin, 38-31, in the Big Ten championship game Saturday in Indianapolis, rallying from a 28-7 first-half deficit.

In addition to the 2009 game, which the Trojans won, 38-24, 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 has won 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.

In 1922, the first time New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday when a Rose Bowl Game would have been played, it was moved to 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 or by calling (800) 653-8000. Travel and ticket packages can be purchased online through PrimeSport.

—City News Service

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