USC vs. UCLA Roundtable: Is the Rivalry Back?

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Reign of Troy Staff

Michael Castillo (@ReignOfTroy):

Yes. For a rivalry that is tightly woven into the history of Los Angeles, the city hasn’t had a long period of fielding two highly-ranked teams in over 20 years. In 2005, both teams were ranked in the top 10, but UCLA came into the game as heavy underdogs, with a talent gap that was so prevalent that only the Bruins’ Marcedes Lewis may have been able to start on offense had he played for the Trojans. That game had buzz and hype going into it with College Gameday’s visit to the Coliseum, but it doesn’t come close to the heat that we’re seeing now. From issues between the bands and administrations, to student hi-jinx and the creation of a fake Randall Goforth twitter account, the passion between the fan bases seems to be at an all-time high, or perhaps it only feels like that because it’s been so long since the series was tight. Plus, the 50-0 win by USC last year really went a long way at establishing a tone of angst between the sides that wouldn’t have been there had Troy been victorious 27-10.

Trenise Ferreira (@Trenise_RoT):

Over the past decade the rivalry has been a figment of UCLA’s imagination, and Trojan fans know it. Winning only once over a 12-year span, putting up only 35 points in the past five years, and getting shutout in embarrassing fashion in 2011 have done nothing to convince the cardinal and gold clad that they don’t run Los Angeles. With USC being a football school and UCLA being the basketball one, the rivalry between the two only feels legitimate when the two actually seem to be on level playing field. So this year, with the Bruins being ranked above USC for the first time since the Pete Carroll Era, the rivalry is definitely showing signs of life. This game will say a lot for coaches Lane Kiffin and Jim Mora; for Kiffin, its about extending USC’s winning streak and for Mora, it’s about changing the narrative of the matchup altogether. Depending on the outcome, this game will surely be talked about for rivalries to come.

Alicia De Artola (@PenguinOfTroy):

UCLA’s campaign to stop the USC drum major from stabbing the field before the game tells me that the rivalry is not alive and well. Rivalry is all about tradition. And I’m sorry UCLA, but if you didn’t complain about stabbing the field the first time it happened, then you can’t complain now. Let your team defend your logo with their play on the field. I guarantee you that if UCLA was on a winning streak against USC they wouldn’t be making a big deal out of a harmless pregame tradition. This “controversy” shows just how far UCLA has fallen, which is a shame because Jim Mora has his Bruins playing as well as they have in years. The lead up to this game should have been about how UCLA actually has a team that could score on USC for the first time since 2010. Instead, it’s about how UCLA is so easily offended that they would ban the USC band from playing at half time or performing at the Rose Bowl in the future. The Spirit Of Troy only takes the field on the road against USC rivals. Cal, Stanford and Notre Dame don’t throw fits when the drum major stabs their field. If UCLA wants to believe that the rivalry is back, then they should act like true rivals and stand for tradition as well.

Charles Gilmore (@biggil91):

I wouldn’t say that the rivalry is officially back, but this is a great start. In order for the rivalry to be fully restored, UCLA will have to consistently win games that matter. They would have to get to the Rose Bowl or get invites to other BCS bowls. This season is a big start towards that goal for UCLA and some of the things they have done in Westwood are reminiscent of the beginning of the Pete Carroll era at USC, as they have hired a young, energetic NFL coach who is defensive minded. The question will be: how does that play out in recruiting? Jim Mora still needs to sell the program in order to pluck a couple of top recruits that would otherwise go to USC. That is when the rivalry really begins. When two local programs are fishing in the same pond for the big guppies.

Oliver Twist (@FightOnTwist):

There would first need to be a football “rivalry” for the rivalry to be “back.” USC has only lost this game once since 1999. Not much by way of a rivalry, if you ask me. That said, this game looks to be more competitive than the the last five years have been, and during that time, UCLA has been outscored 158-35. The Bruins will probably be more competitive, but this game is rivalry in name only.

Evan Budrovich (@evanbud):

For the first time since 1998, UCLA could win the Pac-12. Who stands in their way? The Men of Troy. The 2012 edition of Conquest has postseason implications on the line. USC vs. UCLA is back, these two football teams are both nationally ranked, while sitting in consecutive spots in the rankings. The Rose Bowl will be popping on Saturday because Bruin fans realize they have quite a strong team this year that could actually amend last season’s 50-0 beat-down, and this Saturday’s game will be by far the most intense matchup of the decade because it will have more on the line than the annual Gauntlet, as Pac-12 bling is on the line.

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