Kickoff: Monday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET (CBS) at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas (artificial turf)
Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of showers. Temperatures in the 50s.
Spread: USC by 9.5.
Watchability: Southern California returns to a bowl game for the first time since playing in the 2009 Emerald Bowl after enduring a ban the past two years. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they will do so without senior QB Matt Barkley, who will miss the game due to a shoulder injury. Georgia Tech is playing in its 16th consecutive bowl, the fourth-longest active streak in the country. The game could be one of the more entertaining bowls because both teams can put up points and have struggled at times defensively.
Shining stars: Georgia Tech -- QB Tevin Washington has 19 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for second nationally among quarterbacks. Washington is second on the team with 638 rushing yards. USC -- WR Marqise Lee won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best wide receiver this season. He leads the country at 9.3 receptions per game and is second with 140 receiving yards per game.
Who could steal the show: Georgia Tech -- RB Orwin Smith is averaging 9.4 yards per carry for his career. He leads the team with 673 rushing yards on just 75 carries. USC -- QB Max Wittek was forced into duty in the last regular-season game against Notre Dame and will start the Sun Bowl. He threw for 186 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in the 22-13 loss to the Irish.
Magic number for Georgia Tech: 0-4. Georgia Tech is 0-4 in bowl games under coach Paul Johnson. The Jackets have been held to 14 points or fewer in three of those games. Johnson insists opponents don't have an advantage with extended time to prepare for his option offense, but his bowl game record suggests otherwise.
Magic number for USC: 187.3. The Trojans are averaging 187.3 rushing yards per game in their seven wins, and they will need to run effectively to make it easier for Wittek, who is making just his second career start. Its last time out against Notre Dame, USC ran for just 95 yards on 27 carries.
3 keys to a Georgia Tech win
- Defend the pass:The Jackets have struggled with pass defense against better teams. Miami threw for 436 yards, Clemson had 397 and North Carolina 350.
- Convert on third and fourth down: Georgia Tech converted 57.6 percent of its third downs in wins compared to 35.1 percent in losses. The Jackets have also attempted 36 fourth-down conversions, ranking third nationally.
- Play a clean special teams game: Field goal kicking has been an issue all season as Georgia Tech is 11 of 18. The Jackets will also have to keep Lee in check on kickoffs since he is averaging 28.6 yards per return.
3 keys to a USC win
- Want to be there: A couple players have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure with El Paso, and the Trojans already caused a ruckus arriving late for a dinner function Wednesday night. USC expected more out of this season, but the Trojans can easily lose if they aren't fully invested in this bowl.
- Stop the spread option: In its five losses, USC is allowing 248.2 rushing yards per game. The Trojans will have to win the battle up front defensively to stop Georgia Tech's spread option.
- Win the turnover battle: The Trojans have lost the turnover battle in each of their last five games, and they have lost four of those. USC has more talent than Georgia Tech, but that talent can quickly be mitigated by turnovers.
Prediction: USC 38, Georgia Tech 34
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.