Q&A with Go Joe Bruin: USC vs. UCLA Rivalry Week


In honor of the USC/UCLA rivalry game this weekend, Derek Hart over at gojoebruin.com and I decided to do a little Q&A about what either team needs to do to win this game. You can check out my answers to his questions here, and here’s a look at what he had to say in response to mine.

1. UCLA has been on the losing end of the rivalry for years now, save for the epic upset in 2006. How do Bruins feel about this? Is it hard for them to get excited for the game with the odds stacked against UCLA?

Right now, I feel that a lot of fans have a rather pessimistic feeling about this year’s game; you should hear them calling for Rick Neuheisel’s job. But they also have hope based on the Bruins’ big win over Colorado, which was a complete victory as they hit on all cylinders.

I can’t really speak for anyone to tell you the truth, but I feel that though our chances of beating USC aren’t too good, one thing that must be remembered in a rivalry game: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

The proof that this is so: 13-9, 2006.

2. This year, UCLA potentially can go to the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game because USC is banned from going. Does this take away from UCLA’s potential berth in that game?

Good question – I don’t really think so. I know that though the team is a decided underdog, they will be very motivated and will, in Mark Sanchez’s words at the 2008 game, “Bring it.”

3. What does UCLA have offensively that could give USC trouble?

The running game. Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman have been studs, especially Coleman, who’s our MVP and the Bruins’ best pro prospect. Franklin had over 160 yards against Colorado, and he can hurt any defense on a given day.

4. What does UCLA have defensively that could give USC trouble?

As for the defense, Datone Jones at defensive end has been the guy that everyone has been waiting to break loose, and our linebackers, namely Patrick Larimore, and Sean Westgate, can do damage if they’re on. If UCLA’s defense is like it was against Colorado, the Trojans might have some trouble. If not, they won’t – it will depend on which defense shows up.

5. USC is coming off a huge win at Oregon last week. What does UCLA have to do to avoid a blowout?

Play a perfect game. No mistakes – penalties, turnovers, missed tackles.  And pressure Matt Barkley – that’s most important.

If the Bruins do all those things, they’ll have a shot.

6. As a Bruin, what does the rivalry mean to you?

I’ve been part of this rivalry as a student, a Bruin Marching Band member, and as an alum for nearly 25 years now; the first UCLA-SC game for me was in 1988, and I was into the rivalry as a UCLA fan before that; my mom went to UCLA in the late 60s – early 70s, so I’m 2nd generation. I think that should tell you something.