Fresno State – USC Preview: A Lighter Look
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Bulldog Playbook Contributor
Posted Dec 20, 2013


With the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl around the corner Bulldog Playbook takes the time to preview the game between the Trojans and Bulldogs.

Over the past few days I have read game previews between the Bulldogs and Trojans that have been well researched and make a great deal of sense. Over the past few days I have read game previews that have little research included and make little sense (Fresno State with a record of 10-2, seriously?) At Bulldog Playbook we decided that maybe a preview that doesn’t follow other preview formats would be best fit for this Las Vegas Bowl. After all USC has played for three coaches this season, will have a new coach to begin next season, whereas Fresno State actually sold out a few games this season, and wore black uniforms for the first time in their history. In other words this was a season of change for both teams so why not change the preview format as well?

Who’s Going to Win - Now isn’t that a question we all wish I had the answer to? USC has a strong defensive line and a suspect secondary. Strange, that sounds exactly like Fresno State’s defense. Fresno State has an outstanding pass offense and a pretty good run offense. Strange, that sounds nothing like USC’s offense. From those points alone an outsider would have to pick Fresno State to win purely based on the fact that the Bulldogs offense should score more than the Trojans offense. But there are many factors here at play that we are forgetting. The first of these which is:

Which team enjoys Las Vegas more? - Let’s be honest here, Las Vegas is a great city to visit. For those who have never been there it is a desired destination. For football players in a bowl game it is a ridiculously desired destination. The team who is having more fun in Las Vegas while keeping the game first and foremost very well may be the team that walks away with a win. How is it possible that having fun in Las Vegas could equal a win? Well let me point out a personal example. Two years ago I went to Reno with some friends for the NCAA tournament. We played golf early the first day and I shot a 75 on a very difficult golf course. In turn I won two four game parlays that day for a total of 600 dollars. Two years later I went to Las Vegas with my friends from the barkboard at the time and did not open up playing golf. I wasn’t in the best of moods and lost every bet I made. So there you have it. I enjoyed the early part of my trip to Reno and was rewarded. What team is able to enjoy the trip but think football at the same time is going to be the one having fun on the football field. With last year’s debacle in Hawaii I am leaning towards Fresno State on this aspect of the game. Advantage – Fresno State

Which team’s band rocks the house better - Ok this one kind of sucks for us Bulldog fans considering we are a non-AQ school with non-AQ money. USC on the other hand is an AQ school with well more than AQ money. The bands reflect this in size as we were all able to see during our 2005 game with the Trojans in their house. Advantage – USC

Which team’s cheerleaders are better? - Now why the heck would it be important to have better cheerleaders? I will tell you why. Has anyone seen the replacements? If you have a great team of cheerleaders, you infinitely play better as shown in the completely realistic movie which takes place when NFL players strike and are replaced with “replacement” players. Unfortunately as we all know USC and their song girls take the cake on this one, even if they are spotted cheering for the wrong team at times. Advantage – USC

Which team’s fan-base needs this win more - This is actually a rather easy question to answer. Fresno State has very few marquee wins in their history. One of those wins came in 1992 against USC in the Freedom Bowl. It is interesting that news outlets discuss the 1992 Freedom Bowl and the 2005 game at USC as if they will play a part in who wins this game. Unless Trent Dilfer and Reggie Bush are taking the field tomorrow I don’t think either of those games will play a role in the winner, but then again what do I know, I am just your average football fan. A percentage of Bulldog fans hold the Bulldogs near and dear to their heart. If the Bulldogs lose, this percentage of fans lives is affected for the foreseeable future. Although I have very little knowledge of USC fans, the fact they are a Pac-12 conference school and will have a chance to make a run at being a part of the playoff next season is all I need to understand to see who has the edge in this aspect of the game. Advantage – Fresno State

Who’s QB is taller - The tie-breaker does not come down to fundamentals on the football field. The tie-breaker does not come down to who has a stronger arm. The tie-breaker does not come down to who has better presence in the pocket. No, the tie-breaker comes down to who is taller. Derek Carr is listed at 6’3 while Cody Kessler sits at 6’1. Now as we all know being tall is an immeasurable talent in life, one we have no control over. But those who are tall have a huge advantage when it comes to success in life. A majority of athletes are tall. A majority of presidents are tall. A majority of movie stars are tall. With that I give the tie breaker to the Bulldogs. Derek Carr’s slimmest of height margins gives the Bulldogs what they need to walk away with a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl. Advantage – Fresno State

Of course I am going to end this article with a bit of realism. However, Sometimes I feel a bit of humor can go a long ways with respect to the world of sports. We all know the matchup here is the Bulldogs offensive line vs. the Trojans defensive line. If the Trojans can pressure Carr and force the Bulldog offense into mistakes the Trojans will walk away with a victory. The problem is that only took one sentence to write hence the different type of game preview. Bulldog Playbook’s prediction of the Las Vegas Bowl is:

Fresno State – 35
USC – 31

I hope all who made the trip enjoy the Las Vegas Bowl. If you do anything while you are there make sure to say thank you to Derek Carr. I am not sure anyone has done more for the football program than Derek and he deserves all of the praise and accolades he gets from this point on. It has been a great season writing about the 2013 football team and I look forward to writing more articles for the board during the 2014 season.


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