USC TROJANS’ NEXT GAME:
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
OPPONENT: Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1, Mountain West Conference Champions)
SITE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 12:30 p.m. PT
TV: KABC Channel 7 (In the SoCal area)
Amidst all of the turmoil and upheaval that these Trojans of USC have gone through in the past week-plus:
- Losing to UCLA for the second consecutive year, this time at home in a convincing fashion,
- Hiring Washington coach and former Trojan assistant Steve Sarkisian the day after their loss to the Bruins,
- Having interim coach Ed Orgeron resign in disappointment, although USC athletic director Pat Haden offered him an assistant head coach position and a substantial raise in salary, which greatly upset the Trojan players,
- Rumors festering that a large number of third-year players will either enter the NFL draft or transfer over Orgeron being snubbed for the permanent head coaching job,
This 25th-ranked Southern Cal football team finds themselves having one more game to play as they head up I-15 to the town famous for being a Disneyland for adults to play in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl; it will be the Trojans’ second time in Vegas, having lost to Utah there in 2001.
Fresno State, a team known for its hard-nosed, take-anyone-on-anytime-and-anywhere attitude with a large and passionate “Red Wave” fan base, will be the opponent.
And will be a formidable one as those Bulldogs from California’s Central Valley won the Mountain West Conference, defeating Utah State 24-17 on December 7 to take the crown.
They would have likely been invited to a BCS game if not for the fact that they suffered a stunning upset at the expense of a 6-6 San Jose State team that wasn’t even invited to a bowl game, giving up 62 points in that loss to the Spartans in San Jose.
Now that Orgeron’s gone, offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over as interim coach in Las Vegas. Sarkisian will be there, but only as an observer as he has stated that he won’t interfere.
I’m sure that he will be watching the different USC players very closely, as some have said that this is an audition of sorts for them to try and impress the new coach.
With a record of 9-4, this is a good opportunity for ‘SC to finish with ten wins despite having three different head coaches lead them this year and losing to their two rivals, UCLA and Notre Dame, for the second straight season.
A more comprehensive preview of the Trojans and Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl will appear on this site on December 19.