CHRIS DUFRESNE / COLLEGE FOOTBALL MAILBAG

Despite its record, Georgia Tech poses problems for USC

Chris Dufresne takes time out (he gets 3 per half) each Friday during college football season to answer questions. This week's topics include the dark side of USC's Sun Bowl matchup and a brighter bloom about the Rose Bowl.

Unbuckling the mailbag:

Question: Imagine how USC fans are going to feel after a 6-7 Georgia Tech team wins the game.

Larry Diaz

Answer: How could USC fans feel any worse? The Trojans were picked to win the national title, lost five times and have been "rewarded" with a Sun Bowl matchup against an insect-nicknamed team with a losing record.

The good news for USC fans is El Paso is only an 11-plus-hour drive from Newport Beach. In fact, Newport is closer to El Paso (796 miles) than El Paso is to Houston (802 miles).

USC fans can pass the driving time by playing the popular car game, "I spy USC's new defensive coordinator."

Or, sing the time-killing tune "62 Oregon points on the board, 62 points on the board. Take one down, pass it around, 61 Oregon points on the board."

The worst USC season imaginable is ending in a border town across from Juarez. What a potential nightmare this is for outgoing defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. He finally gets away from all those Pac-12 spread offenses only to end up pitted against Paul Johnson's triple-option attack.

Playing Georgia Tech is similar to doing agility drills through barbed wire. USC defenders need to watch their legs, as the blocking schemes in the triple-option attack are completely different, with offensive linemen coming at you from all angles.

Q: Will SC-Georgia Tech make us forget 2008 Sun Bowl Classic: Pitt 3, Oregon State 0?

Steve Kelly

A: Come on now, fans of lawn bowling thought that game was a thrill a minute. The only score was Justin Kahut's second-quarter field goal and the teams combined for 20 punts. It was the lowest-scoring bowl game since Air Force and Texas Christian played to a scoreless tie in the 1959 Cotton Bowl.

There was also the Sun Bowl in 1940, when Arizona State and Catholic didn't score.

I suspect there will be points in this year's game. Georgia Tech played Florida State tough last week in a 21-15 loss, but allowed 106 points in its previous three games.

USC has unpleasant memories of its last trip to El Paso, when Paul Hackett's Trojans were shocked by TCU, 28-19.

The game marked low ebb for USC and was a launching point for an up-and-coming TCU program that used victory to build momentum as it headed into the next millennium.

That USC win ultimately helped TCU get to the Big 12 Conference.

Q: Can you remember a less impressive Heisman crew than this year's? Each guy isn't even the best at his position.

@jrphelps77

A: I wasn't crazy with the first crew back in 1935, led by Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago. Berwanger's victory couldn't even save his school's football program.

 

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