USC Football: With College Football Playoffs, is the Rose Bowl Still the Goal?


Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

With news of the new 4-Team College Football Playoff set to begin in the 2014 season, serious questions have to be considered for the goals of the USC football program, given the discrepancy between being a playoff team and going to a bowl game. Is the Rose Bowl still the ultimate goal, or is it merely a rosy consolation prize, if you pardon the pun?

For years, the Trojans have always considered the Rose Bowl to be the be all and end all, and rightfully so. The pageantry, the picturesque vistas, the proximity and 24 victories, triple the amount of the next best, make it all that special for USC. But since the BCS era began in 1998, the overall importance of the Rose Bowl has taken a step back, since the National Championship Game has also been played in three other southern states.

With the new playoff model, in theory, the Trojans could win the Pac-12 every year, and yet only go to the Rose Bowl a limited number of times. Does that change the importance or grandeur of the game? If it does, should it?

These are questions somewhat pondered in the BCS era but soon to be mentioned ad nauseam, once a Pac-12 or Big Ten powerhouse is forced to play outside of Pasadena in their quest for a title.

There’s clearly two mindsets, and both are well represented not only within the Trojan Family, but the Pac-12 and Big Ten, given the significance of past history.

The first is based solely on winning the conference and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl, as it’s the one thing that every Pac-12 and Big Ten school can control when their season begins. Add in the historical significance of the Rose Bowl and it’s a no-brainer: the Rose Bowl is the goal and everything else, including a National Champion run, is icing on the cake, since if the team is good enough to warrant the national praise, the invisible hand will do it’s job and present the opportunity. This is the traditional approach, without question.

To others, winning at all costs is the absolute objection, thus anything but setting the goal on winning the National Championship isn’t up to snuff. In other words, meaning that the Rose Bowl becomes a glorified consolation, should a berth in the BCS Title Game or the playoffs not be in the cards. This mindset not only stems from a swagger that swelled during the Pete Carroll era, but is fixed on the drive for what’s seen as just, as opposed to what’s considered commonplace.

Of course, there’s flaws within both viewpoints. Those set on making the Rose Bowl the goal, set themselves up to be short changed. Inversely, the ‘Natty or Bust’ camp often fails to take into account the factors that are uncontrollable with the BCS system and a looming playoff system, like the polls and the performances of other teams.

It’s safe to say that most USC fans are clamoring for a National Championship in 2012. But, given the significance of the past and the presence of the systems that be, what really should be the goal for 2012?

Monday night, we asked Twitter for their viewpoint on the Rose Bowl, and here’s the feedback, embedded below, following our initial tweet.

So, as you can see, there’s no clear cut answer. And really, as noted, it’s a topic that divides traditionalists from modernists.

With it being an election year, it’s only fitting to put it to a vote. Choose what you feel should be USC’s annual goal, and don’t forget to leave your comments below explaining why you think the Rose Bowl is the goal or just a giant consolation prize.

What should be USC's goal going into every season?

View Results