Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Open as Underdogs in the Rose Bowl

Opening lines on the Rose Bowl have Penn State listed as underdogs to USC. 

Fresh off a comeback win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, the Penn State Nittany Lions found themselves snubbed from the College Football Playoff. Up next is a trip to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl.

Penn State, winners of nine straight, will match up with the USC Trojans, another one of the hottest teams in the nation. Despite finishing with three total losses, the Trojans ended the season on an eight-game win streak.

Oddsmakers in Vegas are high on the Trojans and have set them as the favorites. Currently, the Nittany Lions are seven-point underdogs in the Rose Bowl.

The line is a bit surprising, as Penn State has done nothing but win since the beginning of October. The Nittany Lions battled through adversity and injuries all season and overcame a nearly unsurmountable 21-point deficit in the Big Ten Championship against one of the best defenses in the nation.

A high-powered offense, led by quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley has shown the ability to put up points in a hurry. The Nittany Lions have outscored opponents by an average of 20.9 points during their win streak.

Like Penn State, USC has played its best football at the end of the year. The Trojans started the year 1-3, but lost all three games to ranked opponents. Now, they boast wins over Colorado and Washington and enter the Rose Bowl as hot as anyone. Quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones II lead a very potent offense. USC has won its last eight games by an average of 19.8 points a game.

As far as the line, USC is likely getting the benefit of a virtual home game, playing in Pasadena. However, Penn State travels as well as any team in the country. There are sure to be plenty of screaming fans dressed in blue and white when the game kicks off on January 2.

With Penn State ranked No. 5 and USC ranked at No. 9, the Rose Bowl has the potential to be one of the best games of the bowl season.

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