Guest Post: The Skinny Post – Pass The Bowl

That’s some good USC cheek right there*:

If you’re looking for a good reason to stay home Friday during the day (“c’mon honey, how much more crap do we really need for the house even it it is 75% off?”) just tell her you are exploring the intricate social milieu of the American middle classes. She’ll think you’re watching a bootleg download of Revolutionary Road, but actually you’ll be catching the Rose Bowl live from Pasedena (ESPN on SKY, 11am Fri 2nd).

New Years Day is a big day in the US sports calender, and not just because it means they can thrash the U2 song all day on promos and highlights. (By the way, I blame that song for creating both Coldplay and Keane. ‘Omigod, that Grade 2 piano line is carrying the melody! Despite all these years as a piano dork I too can be a rock star!”. Thanks Bono)
It’s one of the many climaxes of College Football, specifically the 118 year old ‘Granddaddy Of Them All’.

And this year its a doozy of a matchup.

Because of the constant turnover of student-athletes College Football teams take on the personalities of their coaches more than most sports. When its likely that the entire team will change every 3-4 years as the kids graduate the coaches often become the fixture that fans hang on to, and this year’s Rose Bowl is a terrific example of this.

Before I go on, some more USC Song girls:

Ok, now for the bad news. This is Joe Paterno, coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions:

This is him demonstating what his penis looked like the last time he used it in anger. Which may have been awhile.
JoePa is 82. He has been coaching the Penn State football team for 59 years. How long is that? If the All Blacks had shown similiar fortitude they would still be being coached by Tom Morrison (only the second person to ever hold that role as we understand it today). Matt Busby’s corpse would still be making out the team sheets at Man U.
But that’s not actually the most amazing thing. No, the incredible thing is that after a season where the Lions came within a whisker of being undefeated they gave him a 3 year extension.
He may well die on the sideline one day. How he manages to encourage and motivate guys over 60 years his junior I have no idea. Perhaps its his goofy grandfather vibe:

It should come as no surprise that Joe favours hard-nose, down in the dirt football.

On the other side is Mr LA himself, Pete Carroll. No-one embodies the laid back vanity that is Southern California more than Pistol Pete.

‘Hey, I’m Pete Carroll. Yes, I’m 57 and have less of a pot than you do my young friend. Speaking of pot…’

Despite being a washout as coach of the NFL New England Patriots in the 90’s, Carroll is a superb college coach.
USC are the 800 pound gorilla of the PAC 10 conference, winning 8 of the last 9 years including 2 National Championships, and were ranked No 1 in the country before a single upset loss to Oregon State doomed them to the second rank of incredibly good teams.
This is how College Football works. The powerhouse schools are regarded as having such an advantage over most of their opponents a single loss in 12 games usually spells the end of any shot at the National Championship.

And USC has an incredible recruiting advantage.

Let’s say you are 18, and good at football. Would you choose to attend (for free) a school that:

a) has produced the most NFL players in history
b) regularly plays for Championships
c) is based in the second largest media market with no pro team so you can start working on your endorsements
d) has Will Ferrell hanging out on the sidelines
e) is coached by a guy who talks like your dad, if your dad surfed and used to be a roadie for the Eagles
f) plays its ‘winter’ games in 20C weather
g) recruits LA’s huge Samoan community very well
h) has the hottest coeds on the West Coast (sorry San Diego State)

Yep, me too.

More good USC cheek:
usc3

So try and catch a bit of the Rose Bowl this Friday.
USC look too heavily powered on both offense and defense for Penn State.
QB Mark Sanchez can scramble at will as well as throw the deep ball, and linebacker Rey Maualaga leads a defense that’s only became stronger as the season wore on.
In fact on paper USC is ridiculously stacked and essentially playing at home in the sunshine in front of 90,000 rabid fans.
But Penn State’s been under-rated all year and if they can disrupt the timing of USC, we’ll have a game on our hands.

At least the coaching on both sides will be exceptional, if coming from two completely different places.

Finally, more USC Song Girls.

* this is a still frame from last year’s Rose Bowl coverage where an internet frenzy grew up over whether one of the Song Girls was performing commando.
Turned out to be butt wedge.
And if you’re wondering where the pics of the hot Penn State coeds are, um, well, there aren’t any.

Mark Tierney

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