SAN FRANCISCO - Executive director Gary Cavalli extended the Emerald Bowl bid to each team today following yesterday's completion of regular season play.
The Trojans and Eagles, each 8-4 during the regular season, meet on Saturday, December 26 with kickoff at 5:00 p.m. [PST]/8:00 p.m. [EST]. The game will be televised in prime time for the fourth consecutive year by ESPN and will also be heard nationwide on ESPN Radio.
In last year's Emerald Bowl, California defeated Miami 24-17 before a standing-room-only 42,268 fans. It was also the 8th-most-watched college football bowl telecast in ESPN's history. The Emerald Bowl has set attendance and ratings records two of the past three years.
“We could not be happier with this matchup,” Cavalli said. “In USC, we have one of the great brands in college football and a program that is almost always in the national championship hunt. In Boston College, we have one of the nation's premier academic institutions and an over-achieving team that overcame a lot of adversity this season.
“Pete Carroll is recognized as one of the great coaches in the game, and Frank Spaziani did a phenomenal job with BC in his first year as head coach. We look forward to showcasing all that San Francisco has to offer to the teams, coaches, administrators and fans.”
The Emerald Bowl and the Pacific-10 Conference reached agreement in 2005 to have a Pac-10 representative in the game. UCLA, Oregon State and Cal have played in the Emerald Bowl previously.
Since its inception in 2002, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau figures indicate the Emerald Bowl has generated over $83 million in revenue for the City and County.
The Trojans, who continue to play one of the nation's strongest schedules, had an impressive early-season victory at Ohio State, the eventual Big Ten champion.
USC also won on the road at Notre Dame and California, beat a talented Oregon State squad at midseason, and closed strongly with triumphs at Arizona State and a 28-7 Coliseum decision over crosstown rival UCLA.
Boston College continued its amazing run of consecutive bowl appearances, going to postseason play for the 11th straight year dating back to 1999.
The Eagles are the first team to appear twice in the Emerald Bowl. BC played in the 2003 game, known at that time as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl. The Eagles ground out a 35-21 victory over Colorado State.
In this decade, Boston College owns an 8-1 record in bowl games.
The Emerald Bowl appearance marks USC's ninth consecutive Bowl game appearance dating back to 2001. Included are four straight Rose Bowl contests [2005-08] plus the 2004 National Championship game in the Orange Bowl. USC hammered Oklahoma, 55-19, to finish a 13-0 season and give Carroll and his players the national championship.
Tailback Joe McKnight led the Trojans in rushing with 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns on 164 carries. True freshman QB Matt Barkley completed 184 of 315 attempts for 2,385 yards, 13 TDs and 12 INTs. Damian Williams led the USC receiving corps, hauling in 58 balls for 821 yards, six scores and a long reception of 75 yards. Williams caught more than a quarter of the Trojans' total completions.
“It will be fun for our team and fans to spend the Christmas holiday in San Francisco,” said USC director of athletics Mike Garrett. “Although this season didn't go quite as we hoped, the Emerald Bowl provides our young team with great competition against a very good opponent. It also affords our players, especially our seniors, with an opportunity to finish the year on a strong note.
“We hope to represent the Pac-10 well and add to the league's strong out-of-conference showing this season.”
Boston College in preseason polls was selected to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Eagles were undeterred. Spaziani, in his first year as head coach but with 13 overall in the BC program, also went 8-4, 5-3 in the ACC. Season highlights included home wins over Wake Forest, Florida State and NC State, and two road victories at Virginia and Maryland late in the season.
“We are very happy to accept this bid to the Emerald Bowl,” said BC director of athletics Gene DeFilippo. “This is a great reward for an overachieving team that was picked to finish last in its division in the preseason. Our previous trip to San Francisco was one of our best bowl trip experiences ever. We're really looking forward to it.
“We are especially excited about playing USC, a football program that is rich in tradition. The Trojans will present a huge challenge for our young team.
Boston College wideout Rich Gunnell led the Eagles with 54 catches for 750 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore RB Montel Harris rushed for 1,355 yards and 13 scores.
QB Dave Shinskie, a 25-year-old freshman, won the starting job after wrapping up a minor league baseball career this past summer in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. The right-handed hurler was a 4th-round draft choice by the Minnesota Twins in 2003.
True freshman Luke Kuechly crashed BC's defensive lineup and led the team in tackes with 142 [81 solo, 61 assists]. He also paced the Eagles with 12.5 tackles for loss.
This is just the third meeting between the two schools. USC defeated Boston College twice, in 1987, 23-17 at the Los Angeles Coliseum; and again a year later, 1988, 34-7 at Chestnut Hill, MA.
Diamond Foods, Inc. has title-sponsored the game since its inception in 2002. Known as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl its first two years, the game became known as the Emerald Bowl in 2004. Emerald is the brand name of Diamond's snack nuts division. Over 30 different products carry the Emerald name.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Boston College and the University of Southern California to San Francisco for the eighth Emerald Bowl,” said Michael J. Mendes, Chairman and CEO of Diamond Foods, sponsor of the Emerald Bowl. “This unique matchup of East Coast vs. West Coast teams, with the ACC and Pac-10, has creted some of the most memorable highlights of the college bowl game season, and this year will be no different.”
Emerald Bowl tickets may be purchased in several fashions. They may be ordered via the Bowl website [www.emeraldbowl.org]; by visiting the AT&T Park ticket office at 3rd and King Streets; or by calling 415.947.BOWL.
The teams will arrive in San Francisco on Monday, December 21st.
Emerald Bowl Media Relations