USC Football kicks off against against the Tulane Green Wave in the Cotton Bowl today (Monday) at 11:00 a.m. PT. This is the first Cotton Bowl SC has played in since the 2017-2018 season, so no USC fan better be missing this game. If anyone needs a live stream for the New Year's Six bowl game, get a free trial to FuboTV here.
SC comes into the game with a Top 10 ranking, and Tulane comes in at No. 16. USC should win as long as Caleb Williams does indeed play. He popped his hamstring in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but has been confident that he is indeed going to play.
Williams racked up 4,447 total yards this year, which was the most in Trojan history. It's a major part of why he won the 2022 Heisman Trophy. That and his 47 total touchdowns on the year (37 passing). He protected the football perfectly--only throwing four picks all season. Williams averaged 9.1 yards per pass attempt this year and 10.3 adjusted yards per pass attempt on the season.
It's safe to say that Tulane hasn't seen the type of quarterback that Williams is all season. It is worth remembering, however, that the Green Wave do play defense. They rank an impressive 23rd in FBS with only 20.46 points per game allowed on the season. And they haven't only played cupcakes too, as a Group of Five team. They've played four Top 25 games. (And went 3-1 in those four games.)
USC Football's defense will be the question mark in the Cotton Bowl.
USC Football's defense is just 82nd in the country with 27.92 points per game allowed. They have played toughter competition than Tulane (they played in five ranked matchups), but they haven't passed the eye test either. SC is great, however, at forcing turnovers. USC has forced 28 turnovers on the season, which is tied for sixth in the country.
Tulane has not done the best job of protecting the football, too, as they have turned it over 15 times this season. That's tied for just 33rd in the nation in least turnovers in the FBS. To put it in perspective, USC has turned it over just six times on the season (leading the nation in fewest turnovers). This is a matchup that the Trojans can handle.