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Bowl Picks: 2017 Rose Bowl Game

[lead align=”default”]The Granddaddy of Them All comes tomorrow down in Pasadena, meaning we get to see the 2017 Rose Bowl.[/lead]

Representing the Big Ten are the Penn State Nittany Lions, the champions of their conference. This is Penn State’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 2009 (and they lost to USC). They haven’t won it since 1995 when they beat Oregon.

It’s not Oregon they face, but as is the tradition, it’s another Pac-12 school: the USC Trojans. No other program in college football has a more illustrious record in the game. The Trojans have appeared 33 times previously, and USC blows away the rest with 24 victories. No other school comes close to their record of achievement here.

However, this isn’t about other teams in other seasons. In the 2016-17 campaign, both Penn State and USC are excellent, hot, and legitimate contenders here.

2017 Rose Bowl: Team Backgrounds

Penn State Nittany Lions
Big Ten Conference champions
11-2 (8-1 Big Ten)
47th bowl appearance in school history (28-16-2)
Best win: vs. Ohio State, 24-21 on October 22
Worst loss: at Michigan, 49-10 on September 24
One stat: Averaged 29 ppg in first five games, but 41.5 ppg in last eight

USC Trojans
Pacific-12 Conference
9-3 (7-2 Pac-12)
53rd bowl appearance in school history (33-17, 2 wins vacated)
Best win: at Washington, 26-13 on November 12
Worst loss: vs. Alabama, 52-6 on September 3
One stat: QB Sam Darnold threw just five of his 26 touchdown passes against winning teams

2017 Rose Bowl: The Edge

There were people talking (on ESPN, naturally) about USC being a playoff contender despite their three losses. If it were an 8-team playoff, maybe, but not four. As for Penn State, they legitimately did have a case, but getting smacked around by Michigan early in the year probably did it for them. Whatever the case, they deserve to be here.

Penn State is about as hot as hot can be right now, though you can’t argue with what USC has done recently. Since making the quarterback switch from Max Browne to Darnold, things have gone a lot better for the men of Troy. As good as Darnold has been, however, you can make a case that Penn State’s Trace McSorley has been better.

Take the hotter team and conference champion in this one, despite USC’s brilliant track record in this bowl.

2017 Rose Bowl: Pick

[header text=”Season Thru 12-31-16 Bowls ATS” subtext=”53-59-2″]

[alert heading=”Penn State vs. USC (-7)” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Penn State +7[/alert]

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