Mountain West champions Fresno State take on USC in an intriguing early bowl matchup in Las Vegas.
The Bulldogs looked on track for a BCS-busting bid, starting the season 10-0 with wins against Boise State and San Diego State, all led by star quarterback David Carr. On a late November Friday night in San Jose, that all ended, as Fresno State lost to the San Jose State Spartans, 62-52. The team had already clinched their division, however, and beat Utah State the following week to win the Mountain West.
USC will be playing under their third head coach of the season, with offensive coordinator Clay Helton taking over for interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin, who was fired following an 0-2 start to Pac-12 play. After those losses (to Washington State and Arizona State), the Trojans went on a run in conference play under Coach O, winning their next six games against Pac-12 opponents. The biggest win came against Stanford, which was ranked fourth in the nation, but the Trojans ended the season with a loss to bitter rival UCLA.
Rankings and records: Fresno State is ranked No. 20, while USC is No. 25. The Bulldogs went 11-1 this season, with a 7-1 conference record winning the West Division. USC posted a 9-4 record, finishing third in the Pac-12 South with a 6-3 conference record. The Bulldogs won the only prior matchup between the two teams, in 1992.
Vegas: USC is a 5.5-point favorite. The over/under is 62.5 points. OddsShark has more.
Weather: Mid 50s and partly cloudy.
Three names to know
Cody Kessler. USC had a quarterback battle move into the season, but the sophomore from Bakersfield won the job and threw for 16 touchdowns against six interceptions.
Derek Carr. The senior quarterback put together one of the best statistical seasons in the nation, throwing for 48 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. He will likely pass 5,000 yards on the year in the game.
Davante Adams. Carr's top target has been one of the best receivers in the country, catching 122 passes for 1,645 yards and an incredible 23 touchdowns.
Two things at stake
USC will look to get off to a hot start as it moves to new head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Fresno State could score a big victory for their conference over a Pac-12 foe.
How to witness
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Radio: ESPN Radio for USC. 940 AM and 97.7 FM for Fresno State.
Location: Las Vegas
Stadium: Sam Boyd Stadium (40,000 capacity)
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Boise State 28, Washington 26
Last year's attendance: 33,217
Last year's TV rating: 3.3 on ESPN
Last year's payout for each school: $1 million
Team with the most all-time appearances: BYU, 5
Team with the most all-time wins: BYU and Boise State, 3