No Good Deed goes Unpunished…

The talk of USC and ucla wearing their home jerseys when they play each other has been percolating for some time. From what I remember Pete Carroll had approached former ucla head coach Karl Dorrell about restoring the tradition but Dorrell didn’t bite and at the time I think Pete Carroll wasn’t thrilled about being charged with a timeout per half. I may not have all of the details right but I think I have the basics down.

When current ucla head coach Rick Neuheisel took over last year it immediately sparked talk that there could be a pretty good chance that this lost aspect of the rivalry could come back, both USC and ucla fans alike thought this was a great thing and it once again sparked hope that this could be the start of building the foundation of returning the rivalry to how it was before the NCAA meddled with another stupid rule. Carroll and Neuheisel discussed it in the off-season but it seemed that for a while the home jersey issue just died without it being revived until the NCAA could be approached about rescinding the rule as again I believe that Pete Carroll still wasn’t thrilled about losing a time out per half.

Whatever his reasoning, Pete Carroll went ahead and announced that SC was going to wear their home jerseys for this Saturday’s game at the Rose Bowl. A good many USC and ucla fans cheered the development, as it was yet another building block in the foundation that would bring this rivalry to relevance again.

The NCAA clarified the rule yesterday as USC would only lose ONE time out in the first half only. That really pissed off some of the bruin faithful as it was seen as Pete Carroll forcing the issue unilaterally. B-O-O H-O-O!! Neuheisel didn't want to lose a second time out (just like Carroll) and that's fine. Carroll seems to think he would have been fine with just 2 TO's per half so he moved forward. Its not like this wasn't going to come up as it had been discussed in the past.

Right or wrong Pete Carroll threw caution to the wind and said screw it lets have some fun! Love him or hate him ucla’s hiring of Rick Neuheisel (warts and all) signaled a change in attitude at ucla in that they wanted to grab some of the attention back when it come to discussing football in Los Angeles. Neuheisel is a decent coach and his fiery personality as well as being a ucla alum brings some added spice when these two teams play every year.

Neuheisel has been pretty brash in how he has raised the volume in going after the 800-pound gorilla in the room. He hired former USC offensive Coordinator Norm Chow much to the dismay of a number of Trojans fans. His boisterous halftime speeches at Pauley during basketball season fired the ucla faithful up and gave them a sense of pride after the dark years under Dorrell. There was then the ad in the LAT at the beginning of the season announcing that the “football monopoly” was over in L.A. raising collective eyebrow with USC fans.

When folks opened a few Los Angeles-area newspapers the week before the season kicked off, they were greeted by an image of UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel dressed in UCLA garb with his outstretched arm pointing, and the catch phrase of "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over."

Now, three months later, another Parker Brothers game seems more appropriate: Sorry!

"If anything, it was premature," Neuheisel said. "But, it's out there, and I stand behind it. Certainly, we're not backing down from that's what we want to have happen, and what we're working towards."

Fifth-ranked USC is a 30-point favorite to win Saturday's intracity clash at the Rose Bowl - which is UCLA's home turf - and can clinch its fifth Rose Bowl berth in seven seasons with a victory.

The Bruins (4-7, 3-5 Pac-10) are playing their last game before the most important season takes place. Recruiting will become the priority the moment the game ends, beginning with what Neuheisel tells a collection of recruits who attend the game.

Premature is putting it lightly but ucla fans ate it up!

They haven't accomplished anything yet...

Neuheisel gave ucla fans some hope that things, in time, would turn around for ucla football. Of course like everything else in life it would get better regardless of coached the team. All of a sudden the ucla blogs and message boards lit up with expectations set and gauntlets being thrown down as if the messiah had arrived and it was Neuheisel who was going to lead ucla out of their 40 years of darkness, but as the new masthead slogan reads here on CC – Talk is Cheap…Lets go Play!

And play they have…

After a stunning “upset” over Tennessee ucla had a Daisy-Cutter dropped on them by BYU by a score of 59-0, their worst lost since the depression. A win here a win there but it turned out to be a real stinker of a season for ucla but no one was surprised because there was simply no talent on offense. Even the great Norm Chow hasn’t been able to turn this mess around and there is no one better. But hey Neuheisel has shaken things up so I guess its time throw caution to the wind and Pete Carroll did just that.

But of course because Pete Carroll supposedly “did it on his own” without consulting the Messiah they are now all up in arms across town.

Please…

If it’s OK for ucla/Neuheisel to make bold statements then I see nothing wrong with SC making a statement of their own. This crap I am reading that it's arrogant of Carroll to do it supposedly unilaterally and that Carroll should have consulted Neuheisel is hilarious. He did early on. It's clear that those who are offended wanted the Messiah to dictate the terms by being the first to do it at The Coliseum NEXT season. If Neuheisel is offended (I doubt that he is) that Pete Carroll took the bull by the horns then Neuheisel doesn’t have to call to call a time out if like he said he would to level things out and if he doesn't it only makes him look bad in the process, not that I care. It doesn’t matter to me, Pete Carroll saw an opportunity to make a change and he ran with it…for all the right reasons.

Of course, this is also being seen by some as a slap in the face at ucla.

Through clenched smiles, UCLA players said it did not matter that USC coach Pete Carroll was willing to waste a timeout per half so the Trojans could wear cardinal jerseys for Saturday's game against the blue-jersey clad Bruins.

And through those clenched smiles, and with balled up fists, several players talked about a gag order on making potentially inflammatory comments about the fifth-ranked Trojans.

"The home uniforms aren't going to make us play harder. It's not going to make them give the game to us," UCLA fifth-year senior defensive tackle Brigham Harwell said. "I wish I could tell you something, but I can't. Put it this way: We're ready for a fight on Saturday."

Much of the season UCLA safety Rahim Moore made it known he was not a USC fan growing up, but Tuesday the usually talkative freshman had little to say, and even sounded like an active member of the Carroll fan club.

"If that's how they feel (with the timeouts), you can't do anything about it," Moore said. "Their organization is a good organization. This is one of the biggest games I've played in my life, but I really don't have too much to say.

Live by making bold statements...die by them.

Simply put Pete Carroll took the initiative. Neuheisel couldn't because ucla is the home team this year and he wouldn't have been penalized and he also didn't have to agree to burn a time out in the second half. Pete Carroll rolled the dice... so what's the big debate about already? Neuheisel gets it, Carroll gambled just like Neuheisel has (no pun intended) in the past and in the process he forced the NCAA to make a decision and clarify a very ambiguous rule. The professional whiners across town don't like it because the messiah can't get any positive pub out it.

These people need to get over themselves...

As it turns out Neuheisel is applauding Carroll for forcing the issue.

At the time, it was believed it would cost him one timeout per half, while Neuheisel had agreed only to take one timeout at the beginning of the game.

Said Carroll on Tuesday afternoon: "I don't care, I'm doing it anyway."

When the rules interpretation revealed the penalty to be only one timeout, Neuheisel could only smile.

"I think it was genius of him to figure out a way to say he was going to take the timeouts in both halves, and then find a way not to," he said of Carroll. "That was genius."

Is this rivalry great or what? Only in this game can the two coaches embrace each other and tease each other in the same sentence.

Of course, Plaschke, like a lot of other people, initially thought of Carroll's move as arrogant. I guess Plaschke continues to think that this a still bruin football town too.

Regardless, this was a great move by Pete Carroll!

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