USC will be spending New Year’s Eve in El Paso, Texas.
On Sunday, the Trojans (7-5, 5-4) accepted a bid to the Sun Bowl as the representative of the Pac-12 against Georgia Tech of the ACC. The Yellow Jackets, who finished 6-7 on the season following Saturday’s 21-15 loss to Florida State in the ACC championship game, were granted a waiver by the NCAA to obtain bowl eligibility despite finishing under .500.
“After not being in a bowl the past two years, we look forward to playing in a bowl with the tradition of the Sun Bowl,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said in a statement. “Georgia Tech is a very well-coached team and will present a challenge on both sides of the ball, especially with their great ability to run the ball.”
Beginning in 1935, the Sun Bowl stands as the nation’s second-oldest bowl game behind the Rose Bowl and is held annually on Dec. 31, typically pitting teams from the Pac-12 and ACC.
Because of NCAA sanctions that included a two-year postseason ban, this marks the Trojans’ first bowl appearance since the 2009 season, when they defeated Boston College 24-13 in the Emerald Bowl.
USC has played in the Sun Bowl on two occasions, first in 1990 when USC lost to Michigan State 17-16 and most recently in 1998, when the Trojans lost 28-19 to TCU during then-coach Paul Hackett’s first season with the program.
The Yellow Jackets and the Trojans will meet for the first time since 1973. Once the Associated Press’ preseason No. 1 team, USC stumbled five times in 2012, including three times in its final four games and losses to rivals UCLA and Notre Dame.
“Although our season didn’t go as well as we hoped, we appreciate the opportunity we now have to play another game and attempt to go out on a winning note,” Kiffin said.
Kiffin also said Sunday night that he anticipates senior quarterback Matt Barkley, who missed the regular season finale against the Fighting Irish, will play in the game.
Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will be televised by CBS.