Time for the Rose Bowl to put the Big Ten to pasture
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Well, just as I predicted moments before the opening bell, Penn State scored 24 points. Twenty-four! Not bad against the nation’s top defense. I would have looked like an absolute genius save for one thing: USC came out las if they were the Bill Walsh 49ers and ran wild against the Nittany Lions’ defense for 38 points. Thirty-eight -- not the 21 that I’d predicted -- and USC wins in a walkover that began with a lot of passion and energy, only to do a fast fade once SC nailed three TDs to the scoreboard in the second quarter.
That’s the last time I bet against the Trojans for a long, long while. Or at least not till Peter Clay Carroll is coaching the Seattle Seahawks or the Los Angeles Saints (sorry, New Orleans) and Jack Del Rio is trying to find his way as coach in Trojanland.
I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed. Not that SC won, but simply that the on-field action didn’t come close to living up to the pageantry and the magnificence offered up by this, the 95th Rose Bowl. As happens far too often, a burly Big Ten team strutted all the way to Pasadena only to play the game las if they’d spent the morning sitting in a gigantic sauna, losing their energy and speed and going all mushy upstairs.
When is this going to stop? When is a Big Ten team going to come here, play a highly ranked squad from the West Coast (not a Washington State or a Stanford) and actually execute? I’m waiting. Really, I’d love it. We need this game to be special, not something only remembered by the Trojans’ faithful.
So far this bowl season, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and now the Big Ten champs have all suffered humiliating defeats. Forget about talk of college football playoffs; how about this simple, small change? Maybe the Rose Bowl should just ditch the hulking Midwestern clunkers altogether and form a new bond with somebody like the Western Athletic Conference. After today’s 38-24 manhandling, USC vs. Boise State has a certain special ring to it. We’d probably get the same final result, but the games would probably be a whole lot more entertaining.
-- Kurt Streeter