Still unsure of what to think about the Rose Bowl matchup? Here is how some national media types are sizing up the game. (Note to Penn State fans: This might depress you.)
Dallas Morning News
The line - USC minus-91/2 over Penn State, over-under 45 - is artificially low because of the good vibe everyone has about Joe Pa at Penn State these days. But there are two things USC does really well. One is complain about not getting into the national title game after foolishly losing a key game to an inferior Pac-10 team. The other is beat the daylights out of Big Ten teams.
Ralph D. Russo
The Trojans have outscored Big Ten teams, 147-66, in four BCS victories. USC, 27-14.
Macon (Ga.) Telegraph
Penn State's Joe Paterno defines old school. Southern Cal's Pete Carroll defines new school. Both have had trouble making their players go to school lately. Southern Cal, 17-16.
This could easily have been the national title game but narrow losses to lesser teams hurt USC and Penn State. The Trojans bring their NFL-ready defense up the road for a date with the impressive Nittany Lions, who have a quality offensive line that will get a big test. (No pick yet).
Two of the nation's best defenses collide, but USC's speed wins out, 13-10.
Henderson wrote this earlier: The best USC defense since 1952 has made opponents limp worse than Joe Paterno. Careful of the over bet on this one. Penn State's defense is really good, too.
And finally . . .
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Penn State 17, Southern Cal 10. Two aggressive, physical defenses take center stage, but the Nittany Lions find a way to win.
Here are some tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2009 by David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel:
As Joe Paterno stays home recuperating from cataract surgery, Penn State beats Bemidji State to give JoePa his 384th career win.
Joe Paterno gets lost walking his dog and ends up in New Hampshire. Despite that, Penn State beats Eastern Illinois to give JoePa his 389th career win.