Look for Fresno State to upset USC in the Las Vegas Bowl

by Berry Tramel Published: December 20, 2013

Southern Cal has had a tumultuous football season. Athletic director Pat Haden fired coach Lane Kiffin on Sept. 29, after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State.

Interim coach Ed Orgeron rallied the Trojans to six victories in the next seven games, but USC lost to archrival UCLA on Nov. 30, then Haden hired Washington coach Steve Sarkisian to replace Kiffin. Orgeron resigned in anger, and Haden appointed Clay Helton as interim coach for the Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State, which will be played Saturday.

So Sunday, Sarkisian takes over. Meaning the Trojans will have had four head coaches in less than three months. That kind of drama is hard on any team.

Meanwhile, 11-1 Fresno State is a solid team. The Bulldogs were on track for a possible Fiesta Bowl berth until a 62-52 loss to San Jose State on Nov. 29. If Fresno State had won that game, the Bulldogs would have been in the Fiesta, Central Florida would have been in the Sugar and OU would have been somewhere besides New Orleans.

Fresno State has a good coach in former Texas A&M assistant Tim DeRuyter, and quarterback Derek Carr is an excellent NFL prospect. Southern Cal is a 6 1/2-point favorite, but let's go with Fresno State in the upset.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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