Two Pasadena games could be better than one
Four years after Texas defeated USC, 41-38, in a seminal game for child, man, the aged and the ages, the Bowl Championship Series title game returns to the Rose Bowl . . . with an added twist.
The twist is the Rose Bowl hosts two games this year, its traditional game on Jan. 1 followed by the BCS game on Jan. 7.
We’re still awaiting legislation by Texas Congressman Joe Barton that would prohibit the BCS from calling it a “title” game, so the No. 1 vs. No. 2 winner will receive a trophy unless the pregame ceremonies include a fly-over and a cease-and-desist order.
This season is going to be different, but fear not: The “double-host” makers have agreed to keep New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31 and the Rose parade on Jan.1.
The Rose is last up in the BCS rotation to double-host, and the first three have . . . worked.
The inaugural game in the twin bill, remember, was Boise State’s upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, a game that will be remembered longer than the second game: Florida’s national title win over Ohio State.
The possibilities for this year’s Rose Bowl games are numerous. Granddaddy’s dream would be to host the four highest schools ranked in the final BCS standings.
One rosy scenario: No. 3 USC plays No. 4 Ohio State or Penn State in the first game, followed by No. 2 Texas vs. No. 1 Florida in the second.
This would assure the Rose Bowl a Pac-10/Big Ten matchup and potentially classic title game.
Or, how about a BCS title of No. 1 Florida versus No. 2 USC, a game many have pined for since Urban Meyer left Utah for Gainesville in 2005?
It would be hard to beat Pac-10 versus SEC, Meyer versus Pete Carroll and two of the nation’s fastest teams. A Pac-10/Big Ten pairing in the Rose, though, would then be less likely. The Sugar Bowl would get first pick in the selection process to replace Florida, and the Rose Bowl would get second pick to replace USC.
Another possibility: No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Ohio State for the BCS title. This might be a longshot, given one school is going to have at least one loss because the schools meet Sept. 12 in Columbus.
In this scenario, though, the Rose Bowl would get the first two pool picks to replace those schools for the Jan. 1 game. It could open up any number of possible matchups. The Rose Bowl could think outside the Pac-10/Big Ten box and perhaps pair a nine-win Notre Dame against the Big 12 or SEC’s No. 2 team.
The Rose could also take a BCS-eligible champion of a conference without an automatic bid (Boise State?).
Starting next year, if the Rose Bowl loses the Pac-10 or Big Ten champion to the BCS title game, it must take a “non-AQ” champion -- such as Boise State or a Utah -- if that team is ranked in the top 12.
For now until then, let this season’s run for the two roses begin.