Georgia Tech's job this time will be to spoil Barkley's going-away party. It will also be Kiffin's last game coaching with his father, Monte, who resigned as defensive coordinator effective after the bowl.
"There's no question they've got some great players, but we'll have gone through a span here where they'll be the third team in a row we've played that was ranked in the top five at one point or another," Johnson said.
"We've gone Georgia, Florida State and now Southern Cal. So, that's three programs in a row with pretty good tradition and pretty good history," he added.
The teams haven't met since 1973. The Trojans have won two of the previous three meetings.
Georgia Tech will be playing in a bowl for a 15th straight year, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but the last seven have been losses.
USC has 32 bowl victories, the second-most in the country behind Alabama.
"It's great, first off, just to get more practices for our young players, for our future, to have these practices that we've not had over the last two years," Kiffin said. "We're very excited. It's very big for us."