It will be a clash between the second-place team in the Pac-12 South and the third-place team in the Big 10 West in the 2019 Holiday Bowl. Southern California and Iowa will descend upon San Diego on Dec. 27. With both teams ranked in the College Football Playoff top 25, this matchup will be one of a handful of bowl games between two ranked teams.
No. 16 Iowa finished the regular season with a 27-24 victory over Nebraska. This improved the Hawkeyes' record to 9-3. No. 22 USC notched a commanding 52-38 win over their rival UCLA in their final outing of the season. Both teams will be riding some momentum into the Holiday Bowl, with a continued slingshot into the 2020 season as the end goal. A win in San Diego would solidify that for both teams.
Here's everything you need to know about the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl:
Holiday Bowl: Time & How to watch
The Holiday Bowl between Southern Cal and Iowa will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 27. The game will be on Fox Sports 1 and will be available on Fox Sports streaming platforms.
Holiday Bowl: Prediction, Preview
This will be the sixth year in a row where the Holiday Bowl features a team from the Pac-12 playing a team from the Big Ten. Stealing a page out of the Rose Bowl playbook, another bowl that typically features these two conferences, the Holiday Bowl will be can't miss action as the Trojans out of the high-flying Pac-12 will meet the Hawkeyes out of the smash-mouth Big Ten.
Both of these teams will be riding a three-game winning streak heading into the game, as USC posted wins against Arizona State, California and UCLA to close out the season.
SCOREBOARD: Live scores, stats for every bowl game
Iowa, on the other hand, had their most impressive win of the season to start their three-game tear. The Hawkeyes knocked off then-playoff hopeful Minnesota 23-19 on Nov. 16. Iowa then notched wins over Illinois and Nebraska to finish off their regular season.
It will indeed be a battle of offense versus defense between these two squads. The Trojans average 33.17 points per game so far this season with an average 41.33 points over the past three games.
If USC is the team embodying offense in this matchup, Iowa is most definitely the team embodying defense. The Hawkeyes have only allowed 13.17 points per game throughout the season with an average of 17.67 over their last three games of the regular season.
Iowa also boasts a defense that allows the 12th fewest yards per game and the 5th fewest points per game, trailing only San Diego State, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson in the entire FBS.
BOWL SEASON: Complete times and TV channels for every bowl game
The Trojans will have to look to their passing game and their star wideout Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman currently holds the No. 6 spot in the entire FBS in receiving yards with 1,222 on the year.
Iowa's counter to USC will be all about ball control. Although their offense lags behind USC's, the Hawkeyes can use their hard-nosed defense to shake the Trojans and grind down their opponent and the clock on offense making the game as low scoring as possible.
There's a lot at stake for both of these teams, but for Southern Cal and their head coach, Clay Helton, the pressure will be on. Helton has been on the hot seat all season and his so-so history in bowl games doesn't bode well either. He is 2-2 overall in the post-season, including a win in 2013 when he took over as the interim head coach. Last season, USC failed to make a bowl game finishing the regular season 5-7.
Helton, Pittman and company will be motivated to finish the season strong, but if Iowa is able to keep the Trojans under their points allowed average versus ranked teams (17.5) it could be a long game for USC. The Hawkeyes' overall average points allowed on the season is 13.17 so a stout defensive performance will give Iowa all the energy it needs to pull off the victory.
|The Pick||Iowa 21,
Southern Cal vs. Iowa: Stats, how they compare
|8-4 (7-2 Pac-12)||Record (Conference)||9-3 (6-3 Big Ten)|
|No. 22||CFP ranking||No. 16|
|33.17||Points per game||23.83|
|462.2||Yards per game||369.8|
|415.2||Yards allowed per game||304.3|
|248.92||Passing yards allowed||184.17|
|166.3||Rushing yards allowed||120.1|
3,242 yards (28 TDs, 9 INTs)
|Passing yards leader||Nate Stanley
2,738 yards (14 TDs, 7 INTs)
466 yards, 6 TDs
|Rushing yards leader||Tyler Goodson
590 yards, 4 TDs
|Michael Pittman Jr.
1222 yards, 11 TDs
|Receiving yards leader||Ihmir Smith-Marsette
676 yards, 4 TDs
|John Houston Jr.
100 total tackles, 6.5 tfl, 2.5 sacks
|Defensive leader||Kristian Welch
80 total tackles, 7.5 tfl, 3 sacks
Southern Cal vs. Iowa: Series history, scores
The all-time series between the Hawkeyes and the Trojans started in 1925 when USC hosted Iowa in Los Angeles. Southern Cal went on to win that first matchup and has gone to win seven out of the nine times they played, including the last time they played each other in the 2003 Orange Bowl. Iowa won two of the nine matchups, once in 1950 and once in 1961.
|Nov. 21, 1925||Southern Cal||18-0||Iowa||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Sept. 29, 1950||Iowa||20-14||Southern Cal||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Oct. 7, 1961||Iowa||35-34||Southern Cal||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Oct. 6, 1962||Southern Cal||7-0||Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
|Sept. 26, 1970||Southern Cal||48-0||Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
|Oct. 5, 1974||Southern Cal||41-3||Iowa||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Oct. 4, 1975||Southern Cal||27-16||Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
|Oct. 2, 1976||Southern Cal||55-0||Iowa||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Jan. 2, 2003||Southern Cal||38-17||Iowa||Orange Bowl|