Nuts to USC.
Specifically, Emerald Nuts. That is the sponsor for the Bay Area bowl that USC is headed to on Dec. 26, to take on Boston College. It is not close to what USC players and fans were dreaming of before the season (or even just a month ago). Nuts.
And that still will be better than UCLA, which still needs Navy to beat Army this weekend to even get to a bowl. If the Midshipmen win — and they are favorites — the Bruins will play in the Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington D.C. against Temple. Yes, apparently Temple has a football team, who knew?
If Army upsets Navy in the most traditional of rivalry games, UCLA team members can go out for pizza together in Westwood, but that’s about it.
It’s not the dreams either team had before the season or even three weeks into it. USC came in with its usual high expectations — despite starting a freshman quarterback — and that was heightened when USC beat Ohio State in Columbus. But then came a Pac-10 season that saw four losses — starting with Washington and ending last Saturday with a sloppy, uninspired game against Arizona — as the Trojans seemed to regress week to week. The once feared Trojan offense intimidated nobody, and the result in the end was the Emerald Nuts bowl.
UCLA went out and won its first three games as well, including beating Tennessee in Tennessee, to build up some hype. Then the wheels came off, in part due to an injury to starting freshman quarterback Kevin Prince, although the problems were much deeper. UCLA lost five in a row, and needed a mini-run at the end of the season to finish 6-6 and be bowl eligible.
And they are still not in. The Eagle Bank Bowl is going to take Army if the West Pointers can pull the upset on a pretty good Navy team (the Midshipmen beat Notre Dame this season, although that’s not saying much). If Army wins it will be 6-6 and, not shockingly, the Washington D.C. based bowl would rather try to draw fans from down the street at the Pentagon than from 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles.
It’s not a glorious ending to the football seasons for the Trojans or Bruins. But it’s about what they deserve.
USC Headed to San Francisco; UCLA to Washington D.C. Maybe
USC is heading to San Francisco for a bowl, UCLA may get to go to Washington D.C. Not thrilling stuff, but about what the teams earned.
Nuts to USC.