Taylor Mays

Strong Finish: No. 5 Penn St, No. 9 Usc Roll Into Rose Bowl

The matchup in the 103rd Rose Bowl would have seemed preposterous in late September.

That was right before No. 5 Penn State (11-2) won nine straight games and No. 9 Southern California (9-3) won eight in a row, propelling these traditional powers out of the depths of disappointing starts to the Rose Bowl on Monday.

Although both teams missed out on the College Football Playoff, a storybook ending is still possible for two teams whose comeback stories didn't start in October. Both schools have risen from years of struggles and the depths of NCAA sanctions to meet in Pasadena.

"Their program and our program may be two of the hotter teams in college football at...

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