Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/31/12
The USC Trojans take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on New Year’s Eve in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the culmination of disappointing seasons for both squads. The 7-5 Trojans fell far, fast, after beginning the year as the preseason No. 1. Georgia Tech had to appeal for an NCAA waiver that would allow them to even go to a bowl this season after finishing with a losing record. The Yellow Jackets were 6-6, but because the teams ahead of them in the ACC’s Coastal Division were ineligible for the postseason, they got into the conference championship game, where they picked up a seventh loss. Still, some think Georgia Tech might have the edge in the Sun Bowl. Excited just to make it to a bowl game, the Yellow Jackets might be more motivated than USC, which seems to have played the season as if they were still under a bowl ban. Finally eligible after two seasons under postseason sanctions, the Trojans were disappointed not to get to a more prestigious game – and they’ve acted like it. The team’s bowl experience has been a media relations nightmare, from players posting disparaging Tweets about El Paso (of course, none of the positive posts generate any press), to the team arriving late to an official dinner, to photos of players sampling the weaponry during a trip to Ft. Bliss raising eyebrows and concerns about timing and sensitivity. After such ugly build-up, the Trojans should be itching to get back on the field and prove that they deserve their first bowl win since 2009, but it won’t be easy. The teams are pretty even defensively, both around the middle of the national pack, both slightly better against the run. But USC will be facing Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, and while the Yellow Jackets’ attack is very unique, the Trojans have traditionally struggled against versions of the option or spread offense. On offense, USC is a pass-first team, while GT favors the run. The Trojans had 694 pass attempts in 2012, compared with just 281 for the Yellow Jackets, who prefer to gain yards on the ground as the nation’s fourth-best rushing offense. USC’s passing game wasn’t as sharp all year as many expected, but it could hit a few more snags with senior quarterback Matt Barkley out with a strained shoulder, and his replacement, Max Wittek, facing blustery conditions. Fortunately for the Trojans, the team will have star wide receiver Marqise Lee. Over the weekend, Lee reportedly injured his knee during practice and wasn’t a sure bet to play in the bowl game, but the official USC Athletics Twitter posted on Monday that Lee was unhindered during warm-ups and will play. Still questionable is USC senior tailback Curtis McNeal. He sat out during the team’s final two pre-bowl practices, but he will attempt to play during the game. He shared time all season with junior Silas Redd, who will start against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets don’t have the talent at wide receiver that USC does – leading GT receiver Jeff Greene had just 18 catches on the year, and the team overall is 115th in pass offense – but their run game is top-notch. Senior quarterback Tevin Washington has 638 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground, and just 7 touchdowns through the air. Running back/wide receiver Orwin Smith has 637 rushing yards and explosive, big-play potential, and fullbacks David Sims and Zach Laskey combined for another 1100+ yards on the year. Georgia Tech is seeking its first bowl win in eight tries; last year, they also played in the Sun Bowl, losing to Utah. If USC (or, more specifially, USC’s defense) doesn’t show up, the Yellow Jackets might be able to pull off the win despite USC’s greater talent. The challenge for the Trojans, as it has been all season, will be to remember their “Prep Not Hype” mantra. It’s not about who the better team is on paper; it’s about the team who shows up stronger when it’s time to play.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Three injured when bolt falls from roof of Lucas Oil Stadium

Utah beats Michigan 24-17, ruins Jim Harbaugh’s debut

Patriots keep Tom Brady excitement close to vest

Wayne happy about Brady verdict: 'That's my quarterback'

Markieff Morris on Twitter: ‘My future will not be in Phoenix’

Jonathan Kraft on asking for draft picks: 'Never say never'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Redskins charge non-season ticket holders $50 to use will call

Arthur Blank on Roger Goodell: ‘Change may be appropriate’

Belichick gives typical reply to question about Brady's freedom

Goodell not attending season opener at Gillette Stadium

Jakub Voracek will donate $1,000 for every point he scores

Dwayne Bowe reportedly in danger of being cut by Browns

Daughter unimpressed by dad playing golf with Tiger Woods

Best and worst surprises of NFL preseason

Tim Tebow shines in Eagles’ final preseason game

Minnesota loses against TCU, but shows it belongs

Trevone Boykin’s Heisman bid off to rocky start against Minnesota

Michigan lost their opener, but showed signs of improvement

Aaron Rodgers on Brady ruling: ‘It’s a good day for the players’

Jim Harbaugh uses Seahawks play card and Seattle loves it

First drive of Jim Harbaugh Era in Michigan ends in interception

Redskins fan who named son after RG3: ‘I don’t regret it at all’

Freshmen to watch in Week 1 of college football

Early returns on Manny Machado, MLB shortstop

Judge Berman offered free coffee for life

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Ryan taking leap of faith with Bills

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker