On Saturday, the Trojans will conclude their season by facing their cross-town rivals, the UCLA Bruins. As we all know, despite being on the way to a 10-2 season, the Trojans are banned from post season play, and because Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott obviously doesn’t like money, the Trojans are not allowed to compete in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game. So, instead of an epic Oregon/USC rematch next week, the country will get to feast their eyes on an Oregon/UCLA or Oregon/Utah blowout.
Oh joy. I cannot contain my excitement for this.
Anyway, the Trojans will be hosting the Bruins this weekend at the Coliseum, in what will most definitely be another Southern California-style beatdown for the baby bears. USC has beaten UCLA 11 of the past 12 meetings, and with the way they have been playing during the second half of the season, it looks as if they are about to extend that streak further.
The Bruins have…no one defensively who can handle any of the Trojans offensive weapons, and they have even less of nobodies on the offensive side of the ball that will put the Wall of Troy to work. USC on the other hand, has Heisman-hopeful Matt Barkley, future Heisman trophy candidates Marquis Lee and Robert Woods, and the Real Deal Curtis McNeal holding it down through the air and on the ground. They have defensive studs like safety T.J. McDonald, Nickell “Zero Tolerance Policy” Robey, and Nick Perry.
If the Trojans don’t win this game, it will be almost as bad as the game in 2006 that I still refuse to accept happened. Only difference is this year, the national title isn’t on the line, but still, pride and bragging rights over that other school in LA are on the line.
The Trojans are capable of a blowout, and the fans are expecting it. After the amazing, unexpected (to casual fans) season the Trojans have had, Trojan Nation wants nothing more than to remind the Bruins who runs this town. (Pssst! It’s those cardinal and gold people who reside in south central.)
There’s a lot of hate between these two schools, and rightfully so—the Trojans and the Bruins have battled for control of Los Angeles for like, EVER. For years it has been clear: USC is the football school, UCLA the basketball one, and—depending on who you asked—UCLA was where you went if you actually wanted to get an education, and USC, if you had long dollars to pay for a four-year party and great football. However, once former USC president Steven Sample took over, he really went to work revamping USC’s image. As a result, USC has beaten out UCLA academically for three consecutive years, and is only growing in popularity among America’s youth. In the late 2000’s, UCLA basketball fell off SUPER hard, and now the Bruins don’t even have the court to dominate the Trojans on. Literally. They can’t even hoop in LA unless they’re playing us, a SC squad fresh off an NCAA tournament berth… Taste that irony!
So nowadays, you go to USC if you have long dollars to pay for a four-year long party, great football, AND a world-class education with an extensive alumni network. BOOM. Take THAT, UCLA!
But still, the Bruins like to relish in the fact that their school is in cushy Westwood, while USC is in, well, the hood. University of South Central, the Bruins affectionately call it, among other things. The Bruins can say what they want though, because come Saturday, it will be decided who the big boss in town in.
In spite of how stacked this game is in the Trojans’ favor, do not expect them to take the Bruins lightly. Oh no, they will play every snap, every down, every minute of this game like they are playing the game of their lives. If the Trojans let this game slip away from them, everything they have worked to accomplish, worked to represent this season, will go spiraling down the drain. If the Trojans want to make the argument that they are still one of the best teams in the nation—and DUH, they are—they will absolutely have to win this game convincingly and in style. If the Trojans want to be the talk of the town, the poster child of how flawed and unfair the NCAA is, and if they want to make a case for Lane Kiffin as a great coach, then losing is not an option.
So, when the Trojans do tranquilize the Bruins, smacking Little-Brother Bear on the snout, and when they finish their second season under Lane Kiffin and the oppressive thumb of the NCAA, USC and Trojan Nation will prove once again that “the monopoly in Los Angeles” is NOT officially over (yeah, we are looking at YOU, Nueheisel!)
USC: The only U in LA that matters.