Not only is Texas staying in the same Century City hotel it stayed in before last January’s Rose Bowl game, Coach Mack Brown is in the same room.
Hotel management expected him back, Brown said.
“When we stayed in this hotel last year, on this day a year ago,” Brown said Wednesday as the Longhorns arrived from Austin, Texas, “the manager of the hotel said, ‘We’re having you back next year for the national championship game, so we want you to use this week in preparation for next year’s game.’
“Everybody kind of laughed, but the kids thought that what he said was factual, and we wanted to be back. And I’ll never forget, right after the game [a 38-37 victory over Michigan], Vince Young said, ‘We’ll be back.’
“So it’s not like this is a surprise for us. And I think that’s what makes it even more special: that we prepared for this. It is the national championship game. We wanted to come back and our guys really wanted to play SC because they’re the best team in the country. That’s a great challenge for us.”
Brown said that the second-ranked Longhorns, who play top-ranked USC for the national title Jan. 4, had been eyeing the Trojans all season, and vice versa.
“Every game for USC and every game for us has been on TV this year, so it would be foolish to think the kids haven’t watched each other,” he said. “I mean, they have. Our guys planned on SC being here, and we planned on being here.”
And the Longhorns, the coach reiterated, won’t be awed by the surroundings, some 75% of them having experienced the Rose Bowl only a year ago.
“It’s not like we’re Clem from the country,” Brown said.