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93RD ROSE BOWL / USC vs. MICHIGAN

Road to New Orleans in 2008

January 01, 2007

The Rose Bowl might be a preview of next year's BCS championship game. Here's how the Trojans and Wolverines could get there:

USC 2007 SCHEDULE: COMMENT

Sept. 1 Idaho: Vandals now on their third head coach -- Robb Akey -- since this game was originally scheduled.

Sept. 15 at Nebraska: The assumption is that trying to keep the score close won't be good enough this time for Huskers Coach Bill Callahan.

Sept. 22 Washington State: If his players get cocky, Coach Pete Carroll can remind them about the 2006 game that wasn't decided until the final seconds.

Sept. 29 at Washington: Trojans hope this won't be a coming-out party for quarterback Jack Locker, a highly regarded former high school All-American.

Oct. 6 Stanford: Jim Harbaugh, a former Michigan man, is Stanford's new coach. He has his work cut out.

Oct. 13 Arizona: Wildcats fans still waiting for a breakthrough from Coach Mike Stoops, who will be in his fourth season.

Oct. 20 at Notre Dame: Trojans wanted Jimmy Clausen. Now they get the former Westlake Village Oaks Christian star, as quarterback for the Irish.

Oct. 27 at Oregon: If running back Jonathan Stewart and quarterback Dennis Dixon are rollin', Autzen Stadium will be rockin'.

Nov. 3 Oregon State: It'll be almost exactly a year since the Trojans' 27-game Pacific 10 Conference winning streak was tipped away at Corvallis.

Nov. 10 at California: Best reason for USC to go for it on fourth down: Heisman hopeful DeSean Jackson will be on the other end of each punt.

Nov. 17 at Arizona State: New coach Dennis Erickson has won at two other Pac-10 stops -- Washington State and Oregon State.

Nov. 24 UCLAWith a Bowl Championship Series title game within reach, could the Trojans actually lose to the upstarts from across town again?

MICHIGAN 2007 SCHEDULE: COMMENT

Sept. 1 Eastern Michigan: A little Michigan football geography: Central and Western field pretty good teams. The least is to the East.

Sept. 8 Oregon: More geography: The Wolverines are rarely best when traveling West. Last trip to Oregon, in 2003, was 31-27 loss.

Sept. 15 Notre Dame: Fighting Irish liked their chances at South Bend with a senior Heisman hopeful as their quarterback and lost by 26.

Sept. 22 Penn State: Had they tried to run any more in their 2006 game, the Nittany Lions might have been pushed all the way back to Pittsburgh.

Sept. 29 at Northwestern: As tough as the road can be in the Big Ten, Evanston, Ill., isn't a bad place to start.

Oct. 13 Purdue: Boilermakers are like assembly line sports cars: Usually look good, but seem to lack the required horsepower under the hood.

Oct. 20 at Illinois: As cautionary tale, Coach Lloyd Carr should show film of top-ranked Ohio State's 17-10 Nov. 4, 2006, nail-biter at Champaign.

Oct. 27 Minnesota: Cautionary tale II: Last home game versus Minnesota, in 2005, ended in 23-20 homecoming loss.

Nov. 3 at Michigan State: Michigan has five consecutive victories over intrastate rival, but Spartans have history of posting startling upsets.

Nov. 10 at Wisconsin: Loss to Michigan this season is the only thing that kept Badgers out of BCS title game picture. Look ahead and lose.

Nov. 17 Ohio State: Buckeyes have won three straight in the series, but Wolverines are 7-2 at the Big House since 1989.

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