For the first time in a decade, the crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA has relevance. The Bruins (8-2), headed by first year head coach Jim Mora Jr., have surpassed expectations this year with excellent offensive play from freshman QB Brett Hundley and a gritty defense. The renaissance in Westwood has UCLA fans and alumni excited and optimistic about the future.
Their Coliseum counterparts, however, have fallen from grace for their standards. The Trojans (7-3), coached by third-year play caller Lane Kiffin, came into the season ranked number one in the country. But tough losses to Stanford, Arizona, and a beat down by Oregon at home have taken the spirits out of the Trojan faithful.
This Saturday is for all the marbles. A win by either team not only establishes city bragging rights for an entire year, but it also determines who goes to the Pac 12 Championship and potentially who will play in the Rose Bowl Game come January 1st. The scenario has left both fan bases riled up and underclassmen primed for property damage.
Students this past week from both universities have found their way onto each other’s campuses to deface and defile their respective schools. The teams’coaches and school administrators have asked for civility and an end to the destruction. The kickoff time for the game on Saturday is at noon.
Will you be watching the game on Saturday? Who will you be rooting for? Have you seen any rivalry pranks around town?
Chris DuFresne, Los Angeles Times sportswriter covering college football and basketball