VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
USC ends disappointing season in Sun Bowl

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A season that began with so much promise for Southern California will end Monday in a place few would have expected to see the Trojans this bowl season.

Advertisement
USC started the season No. 1 in the country with a quarterback favored to win the Heisman Trophy. Losses to Stanford and Oregon took the Trojans out of the national title picture, and losses to Arizona, rival UCLA and then finally to Notre Dame sent them tumbling to second-tier bowl status.

Instead of the BCS, the Trojans (7-5) will face Georgia Tech (6-7) in Sun Bowl. Both teams are unranked and riding two-game losing streaks, and USC will be without injured quarterback Matt Barkley (shoulder).

The Trojans admit they had much greater expectations for themselves, but they also are happy to be in a bowl game after a two-year ban and will try to salvage a season that slipped through their fingers after a 6-1 start.

``We wanted to be in a better bowl game, and that's typical, but we decided our own fate and this is where we're at,'' All-American receiver Marqise Lee said. ``Things happen to the greatest teams out there. Sometimes situations happened where there's struggles, and that's what we had. So now we're here, just ready to play and focused - enjoying practice and enjoying our days here, and we'll be ready to play on Monday.''

Barkley, the first three-time captain in team history, injured his right shoulder injury in the loss to UCLA. It was announced Thursday that Barkley was not cleared to play in the Sun Bowl. He put together one of the greatest careers in USC history and is expected to be one of the first quarterback drafted by the NFL in April.

It certainly is not the season Barkley envisioned when he decided to return for his senior season and put off the NFL.

``I wouldn't say tough. It's not like you really have an example to look to as how to handle it with all the success teams in the past have had at this school,'' Barkley said. ``It's been definitely a learning lesson, not something I could have imagined, but then again nothing is guaranteed.

``When you strive for something, there are times when you're going to be disappointed. Knowing we were shooting for a very high goal . it just happens that way sometimes. But it doesn't take away from the fact of the experiences I've had.''

Barkley's injury means that redshirt freshman Max Wittek will get his second start. The first was the 22-13 loss to Notre Dame in which he was 14 of 23 passing for 186 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

``We're fortunate it isn't the first time we've had to (play without Barkley),'' USC coach Lane Kiffin said. ``We did it a lot of games last season. The team is very comfortable with Max. It's not like all of a sudden we made him the starter.''

Lee gave Wittek a ringing endorsement.

``Based off that Notre Dame game, we had little situations here and there, but then again you know what your quarterback is capable of. Max threw two picks, but then again in the huddle he was still pumping us up,'' Lee said. ``From a young quarterback, you don't expect that. So to see that from a freshman, willing to push us, the vets, and get us there and ready to go is amazing. So I'm not worried about him at all. Monday, he'll go out there and do what he's supposed to do. He looks great. He didn't have much time to practice for Notre Dame, but now he'll be on point.''

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said he doesn't expect USC to change much offensively with Wittek.

``Surely he's an excellent player,'' Johnson said of Barkley, ``but I think the young man that played in his place is also very talented. We only had the one game to break it down, but you can see he's got good feet, a very strong arm and he's very capable. I doubt they're going to change what they do.''

And neither will Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, with their triple-option offense, are fourth in the nation in rushing, averaging 323 yards per game. Quarterback Tevin Washington has run for 19 touchdowns.

``It's very difficult (to prepare for),'' Kiffin said of Tech's offense. ``Luckily, we had a month to prepare for it. I don't know how people do it in a week. It took us a week to get the (scout) team to play them. It's different. In a weird way, it's like playing Oregon. There are not a lot of plays being run, but they're so good at it.''

The Yellow Jackets have to prepare for a USC offense that features two of the best receivers in the nation in Lee and junior Robert Woods, who is expected to make a decision after the game regarding whether or not he plans to enter the NFL draft. Woods is USC's all-time receptions leader, while Lee won the Biletnikoff Award and finished fourth in this year's Heisman voting.

``The two wide receivers are so talented,'' Johnson said. ``They've got a good offensive line, an adequate running game. They're just very talented all up and down at every position.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Handicapping Week 1
News: 2017 Heisman Odds
News: Week 1 Opening Lines
Marshall: 2017 College Hot Seat
Georgia DT Thompson leaving school
Auburn adds former Jacksonville C
Ole Miss self-imposes postseason ban
Razorback could play more in Little Rock
Nebraska WRs coach headed to jail
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 2051
Joe Williams + 1909
Pat Hawkins + 1752
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 400
Joe Nelson + 385
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1239
Scott Rickenbach + 1082
Kyle Hunter + 1023
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2485
Kyle Hunter + 2166
NeiltheGreek + 2076
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 805
Scott Rickenbach + 657
Pat Hawkins + 595
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership