By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
The Obvious: With his previous Las Vegas Bowl head coaching experience in 2013, the National Funding Holiday Bowl will be Clay Helton’s second bowl game as a head coach for the USC Trojans.
The Not So Obvious: Helton has made a number of changes this season since he took over the interim-to-permanent head coaching position. One of those changes has been dramatically shortening the daily practice length and the number of days used in preparation for Wisconsin. Conversely, prior to arriving in San Diego, the Badgers have used the bowl practice days to do extensive hitting and tackling. It’s certainly a difference in philosophy, and it should be interesting to see how both teams perform next Wednesday evening.
The Obvious: The Trojans spent Christmas Day off and will travel to San Diego on Saturday.
The Not So Obvious: The Wisconsin Badgers arrived in San Diego on Thursday afternoon and will do a short walk-thru on Christmas Day.
The Obvious: One of the great perks for teams traveling to a bowl game is normally staying at an upscale hotel.
The Not So Obvious: The Trojans will be staying at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina while Wisconsin will be housed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Having vacationed at both hotels, the O/NSO can assure you that these two properties are indeed top shelf.
The Obvious: The Trojans have released their 2015 Holiday Bowl guide.
The Not So Obvious: No stunners here, as the front cover of the guide includes head coach Clay Helton in the middle surrounded by (clockwise) All-Pac-12 selections OLB Su’s Cravens, DT Antwaun Woods, CB/WR/KOR-PTR Adoree’ Jackson, OT Zach Banner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Unitas Award finalist QB Cody Kessler.
The Obvious: Trojans fielded their first football team in 1888.
The Not So Obvious: Wisconsin fielded its first football team in 1889.
The Obvious: The Trojans have the nations’ fourth highest bowl winning percentage (.673) among the 86 bowls that have made at least 10 bowl appearances.
The Not So Obvious: Wisconsin has appeared in a total 23 bowls games in its history. The Trojans have appeared in 32 Rose Bowls 32 and 18 other bowl games.
The Obvious: The Trojans have had some famous “nicknames” for many of its legendary running backs such as “Jaguar” (Jon Arnett), “Iron Mike” (Mike Garrett,) “The Juice” (O.J. Simpson), “Bam” (Sam Cunningham), A.D. (Anthony Davis), “Thunder and Lightening” (LenDale White and Reggie Bush).
The Not So Obvious: Wisconsin has also had its share of famous “nicknames” for its illustrious running backs such as “Crazy Legs” (Elroy Hirsch), “The Horse” (Alan Ameche), and “Great Dayne” (Ron Dayne).
The Obvious: The last time the Trojans played Wisconsin was in 1966, and the Men of Troy came away with a 38-3 victory in the Coliseum.
The Not So Obvious: The last time the Trojans played at Wisconsin in famed Camp Randall Field in Madison was 1965, coming away with a 26-6 USC victory.
The Obvious: Lenny Vandemade is a former four-year starting offensive lineman for the Trojans.
The Not So Obvious: Earlier this season, Vandemade was an administrative assistant but has been summoned by Clay Helton to become the Trojans “interim” tight ends coach through the Holiday Bowl.
The Obvious: The Trojans are currently unranked heading into the National Funding Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious: Since the AP poll began in 1936, this will be the 12th time that the Trojans have entered a bowl game unranked.
The Obvious: The Trojans conclude their 2015 football season on Dec. 30 in the National Funding Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
The Not So Obvious: Speaking of season finales, the Trojans are 68-41-11 (.613) in season enders.
The Obvious: The Trojans are considered more explosive offensively than Wisconsin.
The Not So Obvious: In total offense, the Trojans average 449.6 yards-per-game while Wisconsin averages 377.3 yards-per-game.
The Obvious: The last time the Trojans played a Big Ten team in a bowl game, the Men of Troy defeated Nebraska, 45-42, in the 2014 Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious: The Trojans currently have an impressive 13-game winning streak over the Big Ten. Overall, the Cardinal and Gold have a 74-27-3 (.726) mark of domination over Big Ten opponents.
The Obvious: In its history, the Trojans have played just seven games in San Diego, sporting a 3-3-1 record.
The Not So Obvious: In its history, 69 Trojans lettermen claim San Diego as their hometown.
The Obvious: And finally, legendary Trojans broadcaster Tom Kelly is considered by most the gold standard of USC football announcers.
The Not So Obvious: Kelly played football at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.