PASADENA, Calif. – It didn’t matter as much as a playoff game.
But it was so much better.
Two days after the College Football Playoff delivered two dreary mismatches, the Rose Bowl rose to a higher level – the highest level of any bowl game this year, and darn near to the highest level in the 103-year history of the sport’s most tradition-steeped game. (Texas-USC 2006 is hard to surpass.)
So we the football fans of America owe a sweaty hug and sloppy kiss to the combatants for bestowing us with the gift of USC 52, Penn State 49. This will not affect who wins the national title – but for the moment, who cares? This was a stand-alone classic that can and should be appreciated on its own merits.