Posted by: danimal25 | 12/31/2008

Rose Bowl Preview

After a prolonged hiatus, the “Sports Savant” is back to deliver the goods. I know, I know… You’re asking yourself… “What the hell is a handsome 20-something doing at home writing a blog on New Years Eve night when he could be out drinking heavily with his peers??” Trust me, this is an EXTREMELY valid point… and the more I think about it, the more I’m craving an adult beverage… But to be honest, the reason I am sitting at home in front of my keyboard in my boxers (I know, TMI) is that I can’t risk being hung over for tomorrow’s big event: THE ROSE BOWL. This game (and the USC cheerleaders) DEMANDS my full attention.

Now, obviously, the “experts” have labeled this a snoozer of a matchup. The consensus is that the Trojans will steamroll Penn St and it’ll be over by the middle of the second quarter. While that may be true, there are 3 key reasons to watch this game:


Do me a favor… flip on ABC at 4:30pm EST and take a look at the view. What you will see is the most beautiful football field in sports. The grass is better manicured than an Augusta fairway. The painted end zones are immaculate. The California sky is crystal clear. The glorious Hollywood Hills shine in the distance.  The crowd is rowdy and rearing to go.

THIS is it. This moment, RIGHT HERE, defines New Year’s Day in the United States of America.

#2) The Coaching Contrast

Could there possibly be a more entertaining matchup of coaches for a college football game?

On the one side, you have USC’s Pete Carroll. This guy is “SoCal cool”. He struts the sidelines in his Ray Bans and chest bumps 19 year old wide receivers. He has a Facebook page. He surfs. He hangs with Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell. Basically, he’s George Clooney with a headset.

Now, on the other sideline (in this case, booth), you have 82 year old Joe Paterno. He’s forgotten more football than all of us will ever know. He sports the “Coke Bottle” lenses and somehow still has a head full of dark hair (Just For Men Gel, anyone?). I always enjoy his interviews/press conferences because he NEVER refers to his players by name. It’s always, “da quarterback” or “da lineman”… I’m convinced he stopped concerning himself with the minutiae of his players’ names back in the Matt Millen era.

And as I mentioned previously, he will be “coaching” from the press box due to his ailing hip. Now, I put “coaching” in quotes because I honestly don’t have the slightest clue what he does up  there. The TV crew will show intermittent shots of him and he always has his head down like he’s catching a snooze… or perhaps an assistant coach gave him a crossword puzzle to keep him busy… Kinda like when parents give a youngster the “kids menu” to play with until the food arrives. Either way, he won’t know where he is or what the hell is happening on the field.

#3) The USC Defense

Full Disclosure: I HATE USC. I hate the fight song. I hate the uniforms. I hate the mascot. I hate Pete Carroll.  I hate their arrogance.

With all that being said, I cannot deny the greatness of their defense. If you want to see the NFL stars of tomorrow, watch this game. Senior Linebackers Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews will all be first round picks in April’s draft.  Just consider that for a moment. The three starting linebackers from ONE college defense will all be chosen within the first 32 picks of this year’s draft. That is a remarkable achievement.

And let’s not forget Safety Taylor Mays. He is the second coming of Ronnie Lott. Dude is 6’4″ 235lbs of pure muscle. Don’t be surprised to see some “alligator arms” of the Nittany Lions receivers if they dare go across the middle. Mays is the definition of a headhunter. Unlike the linebackers, he is only a Junior, but there is little doubt this will be his final collegiate game.

So there you have it. The 3 reasons to watch the Rose Bowl. Stay tuned in the next few days as I unveil my Fiesta Bowl and National Championship previews. I’m off to catch some shut eye before tomorrow’s big matchup. Let’s hope old “Joe Pa” isn’t out partying too late… Then again, he can catch up on his sleep tomorrow during the game.



  1. Danimal! Glad you are back! Your blog is the first English words I read in 2009. Great way to wake up and begin the New Year with your razor sharp journalism. Not to mention your humor!
    Our T.V. is on right now with thewarm up to the Rose Bowl Parade. Then we will be wathcing the Rose Bowl football game and I’ll be watching the coaches in a new way! Forget the game. The coaches sound more interesting!
    thanks for staring our year with a bang and a smile! xox, Zia Patrizia

  2. Glad you are back in action, Danimal. Thanks for the insight & laughs this morn. Keep up the good work.

  3. Glad to have you back!!!! I will be rooting for USC for one big reason. I share your thoughts about the USC football system, however, I am a PAC 10 person. The writers and know-it-alls have been dismissive of the PAC 10 all season. I am thrilled that in the bowl games the PAC 10 teams have won the four that they have played. Some of them upsets. I look forward to a clean sweep with a USC victory! Keep writing!!!

  4. danimal, great take on the game. i agree that venue is as american as jd at hooters at 2 in the morning or plax with heat at the bad da bing. jo pa makes old age relevant…95% of success is showing up. about those lbackers, rumor has it that they haven’t seen the inside of a library (strike that) a classroom since parochial school. gotta go literally….

  5. OMG this is so cool! What great writing! Respectably informed, I’m in to watch the game!

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