The Hyundai Sun Bowl pits the USC Trojans against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on December 31. It’s not the flashiest or most exciting matchups of the bowl season, with Tech coming in at 6-7 and needing a waiver to participate in the post season. The Trojans, meanwhile, had much bigger aspirations before a disappointing 7-5 2012 campaign and they are wearing their disappointment at being in the Sun Bowl on their sleeves. This time, it came in the form of standing up Georgia Tech for a Sun Bowl dinner Wednesday night.
According to reports, the Trojans showed up more than 90 minutes late for a bowl-sponsored function that was supposed to feature both teams. By the time USC arrived, Tech had already returned to their hotel for the evening. Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson reportedly did not take the snub lightly.
USC is downplaying the event, citing a series of unfortunate events led to the team showing up so late for the dinner. A late flight into El Paso led to a later than scheduled practice and that late practice forced the team to be delayed in getting to the dinner. However, no matter the reasons behind it, it’s just another embarrassing PR snafu for the Trojans at the Sun Bowl.
First, it was linebacker Tony Burnett who sent out a tweet shortly after the Trojans’ Sun Bowl bid was announced where he criticized the city of El Paso. Then on Wednesday, defensive tackle Leonard Williams tweeted that El Paso was a “(expletive) city.” Now, they can’t even bother to show up to bowl functions on time because of late practices.
Head coach Lane Kiffin has had plenty of embarrassing stumbles away from the football field this season but none have been as rapid firing as this Sun Bowl fiasco. Obviously, this isn’t the bowl game that the Trojans were expecting to be in when they opened the season as the No. 1 team in the AP poll, but this is the game they earned when they lost five games.
It has been common to ask how invested the Trojans would be in this game, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that the answer is very little. The Trojans aren’t happy to be in the Sun Bowl, and they’re letting it affect the way they represent themselves and the University of Southern California while they are in El Paso.
The Trojans continue to embarrass themselves off the field, but they had better hope they bring a better effort to the game on Monday than they have to the PR tour leading up to it. If they don’t, a Georgia Tech team motivated by a perceived slight could pull off the upset against an apathetic USC team.
Could Kiffin talk his way out of the embarrassment of falling from preseason No. 1 to losing to a team that needed a special waiver to be bowl eligible?