The USC and Penn State football teams visited Disney California Adventure Tuesday, beginning a series of activities leading up to Monday’s 103rd Rose Bowl Game.
The Disneyland Resort visit by the Rose Bowl Game teams continues a tradition begun in 1959, four years after Disneyland Park opened.
Among the USC players who participated were offensive tackle Zach Banner, quarterback Sam Darnold, defensive back Adoree’ Jackson and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Penn State players who made the trip included linebacker Koa Farmer, wide receiver Chris Godwin, defensive end Garrett Sickels and center Brian Gaia.
Players from both teams danced aboard Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and enjoyed the Radiator Springs Racers attraction in Cars Land.
The Nittany Lions will participate in Lawry’s Beef Bowl on Wednesday, one day before the Trojans.
Both teams will be appearing in the Rose Bowl Game for the first time since 2009, when USC defeated Penn State, 38-24.
The game is sold out. However, ticket packages are available through PrimeSport, the game’s official fan-to-fan ticket exchange, hospitality & corporate travel partner, Karen Linhart, the Rose Bowl Game’s media director, told City News Service.
The Nittany Lions (11-2) received their Rose Bowl Game berth by defeating Wisconsin, 38-31, in the Big Ten championship game Dec. 3, rallying from a 28-7 first-half deficit.
Penn State missed the opportunity to play in the four-team College Football Playoff as the school finished fifth in the final rankings.
“Our team is blessed to have gotten either one” Nittany Lions linebacker Farmer, who was raised in Lake View Terrace, said in a recent interview on “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs” on NBC Sports Radio.
“It was a win-win situation for us, especially for me. Playing Alabama in the College Football Playoff is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Playing in the Rose Bowl in my home town is a once in a lifetime opportunity as well.”
With Pac-12 Conference champion Washington being selected for the College Football Playoff rankings, 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, the Trojans were 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 USC’s 9-3 mark. The Trojans defeated the Buffaloes 21-17 on Oct. 8.
USC has won eight consecutive games after a 1-3 start. Penn State has won nine consecutive games after a 2-2 start.
The game is being played on Jan. 2 because of the Tournament of Roses’ “Never on Sunday” policy, which began with the Rose Parade, then extended to the football game.
Officials decided 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 will be played on a Jan. 2 and first since 2012.
—City News Service
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