USC vs. Penn State
ESPN, 5:00 PM, EST
The granddaddy of them all is shaping up to be one of the better bowl games on the slate this year. After two straight blowouts in Pasadena, first by Oregon in 2014 and then by Stanford in 2015, fans are hoping for some fireworks between two programs in the midst of major revivals. USC finished the regular season 9-3 in their first full season under Clay Helton, including victories over both Colorado and Washington. They come into the Rose Bowl hot, reeling off eight-straight victories and looking more like the USC teams of the mid 2000’s than the USC teams of the 2010’s. Penn State, arguably the biggest surprise in college football this season, is fresh off their first 11-win season since 2009. The Big Ten champs shocked the world by first knocking off Ohio State and then staging an improbable comeback to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Collectively, the two teams have won a combined 17 games in a row and both come into this game with a major chip on their shoulder.