Bowl season is here. Teams finally have the chance to reap their rewards for a hard fought season. There will be heros and there will be the heartbroken. Let 's take a look at one match-up this bowl season. ------------------------------- ----------------------------- COACHING The 2024 Michigan Wolverines are a team that is on the rise. Coach BRUCE has this team on a role since taking over for Coach Bits 2 seasons ago. He brought this team from runner-up to Big 10 Champs in just one season. He will not be able to coach his boys in the Rose bowl due to personal reasons (Rumor has it he is attending another Premier League Draft). In his place steps in assistant coach Jam. Jam has had coaching stints at FIU and Stanford which makes him more than qualified.C+ USC the rise. Coach P is looking to come full circle from his dismal performance last season. This will be a tough task against his Alma-mater Michigan, but his team will be well prepared. The Trojans must have said their prayers because they just snuck into the Rose Bowl after losing to ND and UCLA at seasons end. Hopefully the 4 week lay-off will have erased these memories from the Trojan's heads.C- OFFENSE Michigan put up big #'s this year behind the arm of Anthony Stephens. He will truly be missed though in this game as he suffering from a trumatic abdomenal tear. In steps Kenneth Gardner who is no slouch. What he lacks in experience he makes up with his "grittyness". He's a gamer and will be ready to play. The running game will feature Tyler Neal. Although Michigan is not a running team under coach BRUCE, coach Jam is more of a running guy. Neal will need to be tough between the tackles if he wants to get by USC Williams and Doucette. Michigan got to this point via the hands of Jared Goodwin. Couple him with SR WR Ryne Underwood and you have a dynamic duo that would rival Houshmazadeh & Johnson at Oregon State.B+ USC's weakness is their offense, either due to lack of depth or gameplanning. Although the installation of a new playbook helped them to win more than they had in 2023, all the players are not yet on board. QB Nate Harwell did an awesome job filling in for last years starter, Kenton Levine. Kenton was redshirted this season after a terrible performance in 2023. Harwell performed well in the option attack but stuggled somewhat with the passing game. As a team, USC is geared more towards the run game. SR RBs George Baker and Brad Mack had great seasons in the new offense. Hopefully they can get it done against the Michigan front seven. When the ball is in the air, look for the sure hands of Travis King to be in close proximity. Although he doesn't have the flashy numbers, he is the leader and he comes up big when asked.B DEFENSE Michigan's defense played well and kept Michigan in a lot of games, allowing the offense to do their thing. Allowing only 201 points against this season as their only hiccup was a week to battle with Mizzou (42pts). The ends, Weaver and Hutchinson will look to contain Baker and Harwell while MLB Brent Van will head up gap patrol between the tackles. Van will be flanked by Akeem Lowe & Michael Clark. If USC wants to challenge Michigan through the air, they better have their eyes on CB Matt Kane. Kane has 4 sacks, so it is evident that Coach BRUCE is confident in the remainder of the defensive backfeild to lock it down.B+ USC has had the benefit of Senior leadership this year on D. They only allowed 184 points this year, mainly on the backs of LBs Michael Williams & Corey Doucette. Rated 1 & 2 in the PAC 10 in tackles, look for this duo to provide pressure on Gardner in the passing game. Willams recorded 59 TKs, 5FF, 5INT & 5SKs. Look for him to be everywhere in this game. The defensive backfield could be strong if Rashaad Daugherty returns from the injured list. They will need to play big against Michigan's big "2".A- SPECIAL TEAMS Michigan kicker Derrick Vaughn has had a solid year. With a long FG of 47 yard, he could play a role in the outcome of this game. KR Sean Hutchinson had to TD returns this year and averaged 26.5 yards a return.A KR/CB Wayne Timmons averaged over 27 yards a retun and had 1 go the distance. If Michigan decides to go the otherway, they will meet Lionel Kramer w is a speedy fellow as well. USC's kicker, Andy White finished the season w/ 14 FGs, the longest being 47 yards as well. Can you say "Kicker's Duel"?!A Hard to say on paper as both teams seem evenly matched. This is why they say, "Any given Sunday".