USC vs Tulane in 2023 Cotton Bowl

The announcements on Sunday will make it official, but as of Saturday evening, the USC Trojans appear to know what their bowl destination and opponent will be.

The Trojans are going to be in the New Year’s Six — that’s not an official report from us (though we told you to expect it a week ago once USC beat Notre Dame in the Los Angeles Coliseum). It’s straight from the foremost bowl projection experts who have sources within the bowls and know the internal aspects of this process.

Brett McMurphy of Action Network is usually the college football journalist/insider who tweets out the bowl matchups on bowl selection day. After Tulane beat UCF on Saturday evening, McMurphy wasted absolutely no time saying where USC was headed for its bowl game. He didn’t use a bunch of “coulds” or “maybes” or “chance of” phrasings. He was very direct and unambiguous in informing his readers and followers what USC’s bowl matchup would be:

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That seems fairly definitive. We’ll wait for the bowl selection show on Sunday to make it official. Let’s give you an early primer on Tulane’s season and this bowl game:

TULANE FAST FACTS

Tulane beat Big 12 champion Kansas State, limiting the Wildcats to 10 points on the road.

RECORD: 11-2

Tulane’s record is the same as USC’s.

AAC AND GROUP OF FIVE CHAMPION

Tulane won the toughest Group of Five conference in college football. Unlike USC, Tulane won a conference championship game rematch of a game it lost earlier in the season. Tulane lost to UCF but gained revenge on Saturday in the AAC Championship Game, 45-28.

POTHOLE

Tulane stepped in a pothole when it lost to Southern Mississippi, 27-24.

BEAT LUKE FICKELL

The Green Wave beat former USC head coaching possibility Luke Fickell when it defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats in Cincinnati, 27-24, on Nov. 25.

IMPRESSIVE

Tulane did not lose a single road game this season: 5-0.

8 OF 11

Tulane has won eight of its 11 games by more than one score (9 points or more).

THE WIN AT KANSAS STATE

Tulane beat KSU despite committing two turnovers (both interceptions) and having a minus-two turnover differential.

Kansas State is a Sugar Bowl team with a top-10 national ranking.

AAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Tulane won by 17 over UCF despite a minus-three turnover differential. Tulane racked up 648 yards in just 25 minutes and 39 seconds of possession. UCF had a 34:21 possession time.

WILLIE FRITZ PART ONE

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz made two separate FCS national championship game appearances at Sam Houston State.

FRITZ PART TWO

Fritz coached Georgia Southern to first place in the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.

FRITZ PART THREE

Fritz led Tulane to a bowl game in three straight seasons from 2018-2020. That’s the first time Tulane has made three straight bowl games.

FRITZ PART FOUR

Fritz has led Tulane to the school’s first New Year’s Six (formerly BCS, formerly Bowl Alliance/Bowl Coalition, formerly New Year’s Day) bowl game since the 1940 Sugar Bowl.

HAS TULANE PLAYED IN THE ROSE BOWL BEFORE?

Yes: 1932.

The opponent: USC.

1932 ROSE BOWL

USC defeated Tulane, 21-12.

USC - TULANE HEAD TO HEAD

USC leads 2-1. The last meeting was in 1946, won by the Trojans, 20-13.

TULANE OFFENSE

The Green Wave have scored an average of 35.2 points per game this season.

TULANE DEFENSE

The Green Wave have allowed an average of 20.4 points per game.

COTTON BOWL FOR USC

The Trojans won the 1995 Cotton Bowl over Texas Tech. They lost the 2017 (December) Cotton Bowl to Ohio State.

FIRST TIME

This is Tulane’s first Cotton Bowl appearance.

GROUP OF FIVE CHAMPIONS IN NEW YEAR'S SIX BOWLS

Group of Five champions are 3-5 in eight New Year’s Six bowls.

LAST GROUP OF FIVE NEW YEAR'S SIX BOWL WIN

The 2018 Peach Bowl: Scott Frost and UCF defeated Auburn.

Auburn was coached by Gus Malzahn, the current coach of UCF today.

Tulane beat Malzahn and UCF on Saturday to clinch this Group of Five championship and NY6 bowl berth.

USC NEW YEAR'S SIX

The Trojans are 1-1 in two NY6 games. They won the 2017 Rose Bowl over Penn State and lost the 2017 (December) Cotton Bowl to Ohio State.

MILESTONE

This is the first USC New Year’s Six or BCS bowl in which Sam Darnold is (was) not the Trojans’ starting quarterback.

BACK TO RELEVANCE

This is the third NY6 or BCS bowl for USC since the 2009 Rose Bowl against Penn State.

NOT THE ROSE BOWL, BUT CLOSE

This game immediately precedes the Rose Bowl on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. This game will be followed by Utah versus a Big Ten team (probably Penn State, possibly Purdue).

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire