College football: Will USC get redemption at the Cotton Bowl?
Arlington, Texas - Will Tulane football win their first New Year's Six bowl game, or will the USC Trojans splash the Green Wave's title hopes away?
Playing in a New Year's Six bowl is no small consolation prize for USC's college football team that finished 4-8 last season.
Yet, the mood for the Trojans' matchup against Tulane in the Cotton Bowl feels different on each side.
For the USC team that was one game win away from making their first College Football Playoff appearance, this bowl game will be more of a "look ahead to next season" type of game.
If top players such as receiver Jordan Addison opt out to prepare for the NFL draft or due to injury as could be the case for quarterback Caleb Williams, USC will use this game to provide more experience for their younger players like running back Raleek Brown.
At just a freshman, the five-star recruit may be a key player for USC with his incredible speed in the backfield.
With seniors Travis Dye and Austin Jones both not returning to the program next year, the Trojans can use the Cotton Bowl game as a way to get Brown more experience as he may be the No. 1 back next season!
There's nothing to lose and everything to win for Tulane
As for Green Wave nation, the Cotton Bowl game means everything!
This season, Tulane was one of college football's best stories after a historic season that capped off with the team's first AAC conference championship title.
While this is Tulane's fourth bowl appearance in five years, the Cotton Bowl is by far the program's biggest bowl game since 194 when they faced Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl.
Running back Tyjae Spears will be one of the most effective players on the field, and he will be the Trojans' biggest offensive threat.
The junior rusher posted a season-high of 199 yards and a touchdown in the AAC championship game, marking his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game – the longest active streak in the FBS.
With a strong offense, all Tulane will need to pull off an upset is a tough defense.
The Green Wave's defense will have to keep a tight lock on USC's passer Williams, who is known for rushing for downs and scores.
The Cotton Bowl showdown is set for January 2 at 1PM EST.
Cover photo: collage: RONALD MARTINEZ / JULIO AGUILAR / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP