Pete Carroll likes the proximity of this bowl game, as he can have his players jog to the stadium as a warm-up.
Teams: Illinois & Southern Cal
Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Miles Traveled By Each Team: Illinois(2,001), USC(10)
Related Cereal: California Raisins(I heard it through the grapevine that Coach Carroll has challenged Coach Redacted to a waterskiing competition).
Breakdown: Illinois heads into this game with the #5 ranked rushing offense(266yds/gm, 27TD's), and the #114 ranked passing offense(157yds/gm, 14TD's). Overall, their offense is ranked #35 in the nation. On defense, the Fighting Illini’s defense is ranked #23 against the run(114yds/gm, 8TD's), and #77 against the pass(240yds/gm, 17TD's). Their total defense is ranked #41, and surrenders an average of 355yds/gm and has allowed 28 total touchdowns.
Their opponent, USC, comes into the game with the #33 ranked rush attack(185yds/gm, 20TD's), and the #52 ranked passing offense(233yds/gm, 27TD's). Their total offense is ranked #41. The Trojans’ defense is ranked #4 against the rush(79yds/gm, 12TD's), and #7 against the pass(179yds/gm, 8TD's). Their total defense is ranked #2, and allows an average of 258yds/gm and has given up 23 total touchdowns.
Signature Wins: Illinois-Ohio State. USC-Arizona State.
Common Opponents: None.
Prediction: Illinois is headed to their first Rose Bowl since 1983, and it’s due in large part because of Juice Williams and Rashard Mendenhall. They provide a dynamic rushing duo that usually wears down opponents. However, they’re facing a USC defense that is tough against the run, and will probably force Williams into more passing situations. Unfortunately for the Illini, USC also has one of the top passing defenses. Combine that with the Illini’s suspect pass defense, and it looks like the Trojans will come away with the victory, 31-17.