USC (7-5) started the season as the No. 1 team in the AP poll but plummeted out of the rankings after losing four of its final five games. Now, the Trojans will play the only team with a losing record eligible for a bowl in 6-7 Georgia Tech.
"After not being in a bowl the past two years, we look forward to playing in a bowl with the tradition of the Sun Bowl," USC coach Lane Kiffin said in a statement. "Georgia Tech is a very well-coached team and will present a challenge on both sides of the ball, especially with their great ability to run the ball.
"Although our season didn't go as well as we hoped, we appreciate the opportunity we now have to play another game and attempt to go out on a winning note."
USC was ineligible for postseason play the last two seasons due to NCAA sanctions. The last time the Trojans played in a bowl was December 2009, in the Emerald Bowl against Boston College. USC won that game 24-13.
The Yellow Jackets lost to No. 13 Florida State in Saturday's ACC championship Game but had already applied for and been granted a waiver for eligibility. They also played in the Sun Bowl in 2011 and lost to Utah in overtime.
Georgia Tech won only one game over a team with a winning record this season. Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson, who runs a triple-option offense, said USC will be a unique challenge.
"Coach Kiffin is an outstanding coach with some outstanding players, so that'll be a huge challenge," Johnson said.