ESPN’s College GameDay offered a special Monday presentation live from the Rose Bowl ahead of the afternoon game between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions. That meant we got one final round of picks from the pregame crew.

When it comes to the Cotton Bowl between USC and Tulane, the GameDay panel was almost unanimous in pickingĀ againstĀ the 11-2 Trojans.

Here’s how everyone picked:

  • Desmond Howard: Tulane
  • David Pollack: Tulane
  • Pat McAfee: USC
  • Kirk Herbstreit: Tulane

Motivation to play in the game was a major talking point from the crew, with all three of the analysts who picked against USC bringing up in some form or fashion concern about USC’s desire to be in the Cotton Bowl after narrowly missing out on the College Football Playoff.

“USC was this close to winning the Pac-12, advancing to the Playoff, it gets taken away by Utah in that last game,” Herbstreit said. “You wonder how much motivation they have. It’s very hard to get a team that was that close to their ultimate goal to get ready for whatever bowl game they play in. And they’re playing the Green Wave on the other side? That’s why I’m going with Tulane.”

The Trojans are looking for a 12th win on the season just one year removed from a 4-8 campaign. Coach Lincoln Riley said earlier in the week he wanted to see his team show who they were during their first 12 games and not in a loss to Utah at the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Kickoff against the AAC champion Green Wave (11-2) is at 10 a.m. PT on ESPN.