Top-Ranked, Two-Time Defending National Champ USC Football Meets No. 2 Texas In Rose Bowl BCS Championship Game

Dec. 23, 2005

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College football's only remaining undefeated teams of 2005--top-ranked, 2-time defending national champion USC and No. 2 Texas--meet in the BCS Championship Game in the 2006 Rose Bowl. It's a matchup for the ages as the Trojans go after a historic national championship three-peat in a game featuring 2 of the nation's top traditional football powers, the last 2 Rose Bowl winners, the last 2 Rose Bowl MVPs, a pair of Heisman Trophy winners in the same backfield for the first time ever (and a Heisman runnerup on the other sideline), the nation's top 2 offenses and a pair of the game's elite head coaches. Not only is the Rose Bowl the 'Granddaddy of All Bowl Games,' but it is USC's home away from home (in fact, the Trojans won a national title the last time they played in the game). USC is the Rose Bowl's winningest team, while Texas is making its second straight post-season visit to Pasadena. USC, which has been AP's No. 1-ranked team for a national-record 33 consecutive polls, brings in a number of impressive winning streaks: a Pac-10-record 34 overall games, 16 non-conference games and an NCAA-record 16 games against AP Top 25 teams (including 7 in a row over AP Top 7 squads). Texas owns a just-as-imposing 19-game winning streak. USC has never lost a bowl game when ranked No. 1. And Troy has never lost to Texas in 4 meetings, including the historically-significant 1956 game and the most recent encounter nearly 40 years ago in the Trojans' 1967 national championship campaign. It's a rare No. 1 versus No. 2 Rose Bowl game. USC has had success against the Big 12, including a recent good run (and Troy has never lost in a bowl game against a Big 12 opponent). USC head coach Pete Carroll has a team featuring a potent offense and a vastly-improved defense. There are 9 All-Pac-10 first team Trojans, including 6 All-American first teamers. The Pac-10 record-setting Trojan offense, which is in the national Top 5 in every statistical category (including first in total yards with 580 and second behind Texas in scoring at 50), is the only school ever with a 3,000-yard passer (2004 Heisman-winning QB Matt Leinart, USC's second-ever 3-time All-American), a pair of 1,000-yard rushers (TBs Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman recipient and the nation's all-purpose leader, and LenDale White USC's career TD king) and a 1,000-yard receiver (All-American WR Dwayne Jarrett), with WR Steve Smith just 72 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards. OG-OT Taitusi Lutui and OT Sam Baker, both All-Americans, anchor a veteran O-line. The Trojan defense, which tops the country in turnover margin at nearly +2.0 a game, is led by All-American S Darnell Bing, plus DEs Lawrence Jackson and Frostee Rucker and LB Oscar Lua. PK Mario Danelo has set NCAA PAT records. Head coach Mack Brown's Texas squad features an offense that leads the country in scoring, is second in passing efficiency and third in both total offense and rushing offense. QB Vince Young, the 2005 Heisman runnerup, is the nation's top-rated passer while leading the Longhorns in passing and rushing yards. There's a dangerous 4-headed tailback group: Jamaal Charles, speedy and versatile Ramonce Taylor, 270-pound Henry Melton and Selvin Young. All-American OTs Jonathan Scott and Justin Blalock help control the line of scrimmage. UT's defense--led by the likes of top tackler S Michael Griffin, Thorpe Award-winning S Michael Huff and All-American DT Rodrique Wright--is just as formidable (it is second nationally in pass efficiency defense, fourth in scoring defense, fifth in pass defense and sixth in total defense). The game in the 88,506-seat Rose Bowl is sold out (setting a USC school record for overall sellouts in a season) and it will be shown live nationally in prime time on ABC-TV.

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