*Update: It has now officially been announced that the USC Trojans will play in the Holiday Bowl and their opponent will be the Louisville Cardinals. The game will kick off on Wednesday, December 27th in San Diego at 5 PM PT on FOX.
At 7-5, the USC Trojans 2023 season was certainly a letdown, but they are still Bowl eligible and Lincoln Riley needs to secure his first Bowl win as the USC head coach. What bowl game will that be is now the question.
A week or so ago, the speculation was that USC would wind up in either the Sun Bowl in El Paso (not a destination many Trojan fans would want to travel to), or the Las Vegas Bowl in, you guessed it, Las Vegas. While a much better destination, the possible opponent and hype over the overall game left much to be desired.
Now a new option has emerged, and it is beginning to feel like the game and matchup that may actually happen.
Stewart Mandel of The Athletic is predicting that the Trojans will face the Clemson Tigers in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. If USC isn’t playing in the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six Bowl, the Holiday Bowl is probably the best of the remaining options. Who doesn’t want to make the weekend trip to San Diego, have some drinks in the Gaslamp District, and watch a football game at Petco Park?
But even better than the destination is the matchup. Clemson finished 8-4 overall, and 6th in the ACC. They are a far cry from their National Championship days a few years ago, but the storylines that we would get between Lincoln Riley and Dabo Swinney leading up to this game would be fantastic.
While having a much easier overall schedule than USC, Clemson did beat Notre Dame, which was their signature win of the year.
Of the possible bowl options that the Trojans have, this would certainly be the best outcome. All of the Bowl Games will be officially announced on December 3.