2014 Holiday Bowl schedule and coverage: USC vs. Nebraska
All you need to know for one of the best bowl games on the West Coast.
The National University Holiday Bowl will never be the Rose Bowl — let’s be honest, nothing will — but it is arguably the second-best bowl game on the West Coast. This year, we’ll get to see USC take on Nebraska.
Sure, the Fiesta Bowl has bigger implications, but it’s played in the middle of nowhere in the Phoenix suburbs. The Holiday Bowl is nestled in beautiful San Diego and is a short trip away from the beach. Would you rather spend your holiday vacation in the Glendale deserts or on the beaches of San Diego? The Holiday Bowl also pits the Big 12 and Pac-12 against each other every year, and that usually results in a great high-scoring affair with no shortage of excitement.
Here is everything you need to know about this year’s game:
Date and time, ET: Saturday, Dec. 27, 8 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium; 70,561
Last year’s attendance: 52,930
Last year’s TV rating: 4.8
Last year’s payout for each school: $2.35 million
Team with the most all-time appearances: BYU Cougars, 11
Team with the most all-time wins: BYU, 4-6-1
USC Trojans (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12)
Under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, USC had high hopes after a 2-0 start that included a blowout victory over Fresno State and a close win over Stanford. Turns out, neither of those teams were all that great, and the Trojans ended up with a solid 8-4 record highlighted by a victory over Arizona.
USC is led by quarterback Cody Kessler, who threw for 36 touchdowns against just four interceptions this season. The Trojans also have a pair of young playmakers who can play on either side of the ball in Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith, both of whom played a major role this season.
Last bowl game: 2013 Las Vegas Bowl vs. Fresno State, 45-20 win
All-time bowl record: 33-17
Head coach’s bowl record: Steve Sarkisian, 2-2
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3, 5-3)
It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times for Nebraska, who wins at least nine games for the seventh straight season but cans head coach Bo Pelini anyway, since the Huskers had become noncompetitive in their high-profile games. Nowhere was that more emblematic than Nebraska’s famed “Blackshirts” defense ceding a new (if short-lived) NCAA all-time record for rushing yards to Melvin Gordon III and Wisconsin in a dispiriting 59-24 loss.
And yet this is still a nine-win team and one that continues to chew up mediocre competition, and in a fairer world RB Ameer Abdullah would have stayed healthy and made a more sustained charge at a Heisman Trophy candidacy. Even with an MCL issue hampering him in the second half of the season, Abdullah finished with over 1,500 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on the year.
Last bowl game: 2014 Gator Bowl vs. Georgia, 24-19 win
All-time bowl record: 25-25
Head coach’s bowl record: Bo Pelini (fired), 4-3; Barney Cotton (interim), 0-0