Matt Barkley will get one last chance to leave Southern California on a high note, and it will come against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
The Trojans (7-5), who started the season ranked No. 1, accepted a bid Sunday to the Dec. 31 game in El Paso, Texas. Coach Lane Kiffin said he expects his star quarterback to be able to play by then after missing the season finale against top-ranked Notre Dame with a sprained shoulder.
"He hasn't gone to a bowl game the last couple years, so it's a chance to go to one and finish off strong for him and for the senior class," Kiffin said. "It's a great opportunity for us."
USC hasn't been able to play in a bowl game the past two seasons because of NCAA sanctions resulting from improper benefits received by former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.
"Especially after two years of sitting at home and not being able to go to a bowl game, we're excited," Kiffin said. "We're excited about a very good bowl and a great matchup, and we're ready to go to work."
Georgia Tech will be playing in the Sun Bowl for the second straight year. The Yellow Jackets squandered a 24-10 fourth-quarter lead in an overtime loss to Utah in last year's game. They also could have won the game on a field goal at the end of regulation, but missed for the third time in the game.
"Hopefully we'll have a chance to come back and redeem ourselves," Tech coach Paul Johnson said.
The Yellow Jackets needed a waiver from the NCAA to play in the postseason because they finished with a 6-7 record following a loss in the ACC championship game. The conference's rules prevented Georgia Tech from falling to a lesser bowl.
"We knew that the championship runner-up could not go past the Sun Bowl, and that was pretty much it," Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas said. "I don't think we ever had a discussion about moving down at all."