Play It Forward Dec. 25-31: USC football might not pick Cotton Bowl, but Ohio State as an opponent works
By Tom Hoffarth
Ranking the top 10 sports events Dec. 25-31 you won’t want to miss:
NO. 1: COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SEASON
COTTON BOWL: NO. 8 USC vs. NO. 5 OHIO STATE
Details/TV: At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., Friday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
You do realize this once fanciful New Year’s Day staple isn’t even being played at the Cotton Bowl any longer, right? It’s been hijacked by The Jerry Jones’ NFL Palace, the site where USC was embarrassed by Alabama in the 2016 season opener. So much for historical importance.
Also, would it have killed the CFP committee to have this traditional Rose Bowl matchup played just a little closer in proximity to the actual Rose Bowl – say, the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, with better access for Trojan travelers who could have even made the drive for a 1 p.m. Saturday game? Instead, there are enough USC fans sledding home in Friday night post-work traffic (yes, it still exists this time of year) and are resigned to missing the first half.
We get that the Pac-12 champion and Big Ten champion had too many losses/not enough “Game Control” victories to break into the Final Four. But here you’ve turned both coaches, Urban Meyer and Clay Helton, into spokesmen for an eight-team format – which would have included them – instead of this glorified consolation prize that only infuriates traditionalists and questions the benefits of the entire college playoff system.
OK, enough cotton-pickin’ complaining here.
Let’s just have our parade, flip the coin, get ‘er done and sift through the complimentary take-home goodie bag to see what can be exchanged for cash for players who just want to avoid injury.
NO. 2: NFL WEEK 17
RAIDERS at CHARGERS
Details/TV: At StubHub Center, Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 2
49ERS at RAMS
Details/TV: At the Coliseum, Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 11