All hype and Heisman talk aside, the Rose Bowl is all but set in stone to be a fittingly classic conclusion to this season in college football.
The showdown between the number-one team in the nation versus the number-two team has finally come into the spotlight, but is that even enough to overshadow the match-up of the number-one versus number-two player in the nation?
While both individuals (the number-one and number-two order not yet decided) made strong cases on their behalf for attention in this weekend’s performances, the team’s stats proved just as noteworthy.
Let’s start with Vince Young, whose team put up 70 points in their Big 12 title game victory (70-3) over the University of Colorado. Young completed 14 of 17 passes for 193-yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He also added 57 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
But what about that Longhorn defense? True, the pressure wasn’t necessarily on, seeing as the team entered the half with a 42-3 cushion. The defense, to their credit, held a Colorado team that averages 350.5 yards per game to only 191. They also held the Buffaloes to 12 first-downs all game, forced four turnovers, and kept Young on the field, limiting the Colorado offense to 23:54 time of possession to Texas’ 36:06.
Now to the other end of the Rose Bowl spectrum, the USC Trojan’s and their main man Reggie Bush. Bush’s Trojans took out their rival Bruins of UCLA 66-19. The win put an exclamation point on their regular season extending their streak dating back to the 2000 season of 34 straight victories, good for fifth all-time.
On Bush’s behalf, the running back garnered 260 yards on the day with two touchdowns, this was only good for a little more than a third of his team’s 679 total yards in the game.
Bush was by no means the only Trojan that turned it on for the regular season finale. Last year’s Heisman winner, quarterback Matt Leinart threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Bush was not even alone in the backfield, as fellow back junior LenDale White rushed for two touchdowns of his own, with 154 yards. The dynamic combo exceeded the 300-yard mark for the fifth time this season. Perhaps overshadowed by Bush, White has 21 career touchdowns to Bush’s 15.
All of this just to say that, yes, Reggie Bush and Vince Young are great players, but they do not do it all by themselves. They are both pieces of their team’s puzzle that do their part to make both Texas and USC great football teams.
To the actual match-up at hand, the Longhorns will need to pull out all of the stops and live up to their 500-plus yard and 50-plus point average to keep up with the explosive and multi-dimensional Trojans.
But just when you think Texas’ numbers are solid enough to top the charts, the number-one Trojans not only meet, but exceed their opponents stats with averages of 580-plus yards and 50 points per game.
This year’s Rose Bowl match-up should be a classic battle worthy of all the hype, and quite frankly, if it’s not, I want a refund… of whatever it is I’ll spend.
Yeah, yeah and at the end of the contest, a Heisman winner will stand victorious.
So, past all logistics and stats, who exactly will it be stood atop the podium of success, holding the coveted Rose Bowl trophy on January 4, and most likely, in turn, the Heisman trophy?
When all is said and done, the Trojans of the University of Southern California will leave Pasadena as the victor due to the fact of the sheer number of threats on the field.
Although not in the spotlight, the fact is, Matt Leinhart did in fact win the Heisman last year for a reason, it is my prediction that he will remind us why in the match-up.
Don’t completely count Young out, as he will keep the ‘Horns in the game with champion-like heroics, but the Trojans just might be a little too much for the ‘Horns to handle.
Reginald Snowden is a sophomore public relations student from Washington, D.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org