Penn State’s Joe Paterno has won more games than any coach in major college football history.
USC’s Pete Carroll, however, has a higher winning percentage.
Both said Sunday that they were looking forward to matching up in the 95th Rose Bowl game on Jan. 1.
“We know we’re up against the best of all time,” Carroll said of Paterno after his team gathered to watch the announcement of the Bowl Championship Series bowl participants.
USC’s Sept. 25 loss at Oregon State eliminated any suspense on Sunday.
After finishing 11-1 and winning the Pacific 10 Conference, the Trojans knew they would play Penn State (11-1) in their third consecutive Jan. 1 game against a Big Ten opponent.
Paterno, 81, said he had been studying the Trojans for two weeks and cited the 57-year-old Carroll as one of the sport’s great “young” innovators.
“There’s two, three young coaches out there that really changed the whole game of football, and Pete’s certainly been right there at the top of it,” said Paterno, who has a 383-126-3 record (74.8%) in 43 seasons with the Nittany Lions.
Carroll is 87-15 (85.3%) in eight seasons at USC.
USC is 4-4 against Penn State, including a 14-3 victory over the Nittany Lions in the 1923 Rose Bowl.
Carroll met with receivers coach John Morton on Sunday to discuss the possibility of becoming offensive coordinator. After the Trojans’ victory over UCLA on Saturday, Carroll said Morton was the front-runner to replace Steve Sarkisian, who is Washington’s new head coach but will also remain with the Trojans through the Rose Bowl.
Morton, 39, worked for the Oakland Raiders from 1997 to 2004, coached at the University of San Diego in 2005 and worked on the New Orleans Saints’ staff in 2006. He has been receivers coach at USC for two seasons.
“I’ve earned my stripes,” Morton said, citing his experiences with head coaches Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Payton and Carroll.
Morton’s only experience calling plays came under Harbaugh at San Diego. He said he believes in a balanced offense and would not favor changes in the Trojans’ scheme.
“There’s a certain blueprint, a certain philosophy that they’ve had here for years,” he said. “They’ve been successful doing it, I’ve learned it and there’s no reason to change anything.”
Carroll said there was no timetable for selecting Sarkisian’s replacement. He also has spoken to former Trojans quarterbacks coach Carl Smith about rejoining the staff.
Gable still upset
Tailback C.J. Gable remained upset and frustrated about being pulled from the UCLA game for the remainder of the first half after fumbling during the Trojans’ first series.
It was Gable’s first fumble this season. Fellow tailbacks Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson have fumbled multiple times, but neither was pulled for an extended period.
“I fumbled once and I can’t get back in?” Gable said. “They said the look on my face made it seem like I wasn’t ready to get back in. They can read minds, I guess.”
Carroll said coaches thought Gable simply dropped the ball and did not realize at the time that it had been knocked from his grasp.
“It was unfortunate,” Carroll said. “We got him back in some in the second half.”
Gable finished with three carries for three yards.
Carroll said he encouraged all draft-eligible players, including quarterback Mark Sanchez, to fill out paperwork that would allow them to receive a projected draft evaluation from the NFL . . . The Trojans are off this week for finals but are tentatively scheduled to practice Friday and Saturday.