The No. 8 University of Southern California Trojans, making an unprecedented fifth straight BCS bowl appearance, takes on No. 3 Michigan in the 93rd Rose Bowl Game in a classic Pac-10-Big 10 match-up from the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. It's the third Rose Bowl trip in the past 4 years for both teams.
It will be a battle of the winningest Rose Bowl team (USC) against the winningest college football team (Michigan). These also are the top 2 teams in Rose Bowl appearances, as USC is playing in a record 31st Rose Bowl and Michigan in its 20th.
Both teams have high-profile offensive players and stout defenses. USC's offense is ranked in the national Top 25 in passing yards and scoring. First-year starting quarterback John David Booty, who tops the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and total offense, has played like a veteran. Two-time All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who is the Pac-10's career touchdown reception leader, needs just 2 grabs to equal the USC pass catching career record. Fellow All-American wide receiver Steve Smith leads the Trojans in catches and is 25 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. Tailbacks C.J. Gable and hard-charging Chauncey Washington lead the Trojan ground attack.
The young Trojan defense featuring the likes of All-American defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, linebackers Keith Rivers, Dallas Sartz, Oscar Lua and Brian Cushing, defensive end Lawrence Jackson, cornerback Terrell Thomas and safety Kevin Ellison, is the PAC-10’s best and is ranked in the nation’s top-25 in every statistical category.
Michigan, guided by 12th-year head coach Lloyd Carr, is making its 32nd straight bowl appearance. The Wolverine offense, averaging about 30 points and 190 rushing yards a game in 2006, is directed by 3-year starting quarterback Chad Henne, who is second on many of the school's career passing lists.
All-American tailback Mike Hart has hit the 90-yard rushing mark in every game this season. The Michigan trio of wide-receiver’s Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington and Steve Breaston, who is also a dangerous return man, create quite a threat. All-American offensive tackle Jake Long anchors the O-line.
Michigan leads the nation in rushing defense and is also highly ranked in every other defensive stat category. Spearheading that unit are a trio of All-Americans in defensive end LaMarr Woodley, the Lombardi Award and Hendricks Award winner and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year who has 11 sacks, corner back Leon Hall, who has 12 career interceptions, and defensive tackle Alan Branch, plus veteran linebackers David Harris and Prescott Burgess. Place kicker Garrett Rivas is Michigan's all-time leader in scoring and field goals.