For the first time since the 2013 season, USC is playing in a New Year's Day bowl. Carolina will meet Michigan Monday in the Outback Bowl in Tampa. USC head coach Will Muschamp was asked about the relevance of bowls like the Outback which are not a part of the college football playoffs. The second-year head coach scoffs at the notion that the Outback Bowl isn't an important game.

"Well, first of all, anytime you hit the football field, it's meaningful," Muschamp said.

"That's nonsense in my opinion. This is a huge game for our program, an opportunity to win nine games, an opportunity to play Michigan, a team that we've got great respect for. But I think the bowls are really important to college football. Our guys are having a wonderful time.

"You know what, there are four teams (in the CFB playoffs). The fifth team is pissed off. There's 64 teams in college basketball, and they'll have shows on Sunday night and the 65th team, their coach is pissed they didn't get in the tournament. So it's a long season as it is, and the bowls are really important for college football. And I think that our guys are having a great week and are excited to be here."

Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh was even more graphic in his description of how much fun the team is having.

"We're like a pig in slop right now," Harbaugh said after rattling off some of the bowl benefits such as staying in a nice hotel, having a nice weight room and practicing on lush fields.