It’s been a little while since a local player has won the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to college football’s top performer. USC’s Matt Leinert was the last, back in 2005.
But that streak could end this year… on the other side of town.
Some gridiron experts say UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is a bona fide Heisman candidate – not to mention the odds-on favorite to be the first player picked in next year’s NFL draft.
UCLA is hoping the sophomore from Manhattan Beach can lead the Bruins back to the Rose Bowl Game, where they haven’t been since 1999.
Meanwhile, USC has a new coach, Clay Helton, and a new quarterback, redshirt junior Max Browne. The Trojans are loaded with talent, but so are a lot of other teams in the PAC-12 Conference this year. The Trojans also have one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedule in the country.
Fans will get their first look at both USC and UCLA this week, as the Bruins and Trojans head to Texas for their season opening games. The Bruins are playing Texas A&M in College Station, while the Trojans are up against the Alabama Crimson Tide, the number one ranked team in the nation at the beginning of the season, according to just about every poll. That game will be played on a neutral field in Arlington, Texas.
Fox Sports analyst Stewart Mandel says the Bruins and Trojans are both good enough that the Rose Bowl game could be at stake when they teams hook up on November 19th in Pasadena.
“You’re going to see some great football at the Coliseum, and not just when the Rams play on Sunday,” said Fox Sports college football analyst Stewart Mandel. “And UCLA has a guy in Rosen who has the potential to win the Heisman. It’s been fun the last two years to see that rivalry reignited, but it seems like they are never quite there; one’s really good and the other is not, and vice-versa. It would be really fun for them to get to the end of the season and play their rivalry game and both be in contention still to win the conference.”