I was mildly perplexed at Lane Kiffin down playing the importance of the USC-UCLA rivalry the other day.
This is one of the most unique rivalries in all of college sports. The programs are just a short eleven miles apart. Many of the players know each other from either playing against each other or even playing on the same teams in high school!
That is why when I heard his comments on video I had to go back and replay it.
I just shook my head.
I am a big supporter of Lane Kiffin but these comments show me some detachment.
"It is one game," the Trojans coach said. "It's always seemed to help one side or the other. (But) the game doesn't make the decision for kids."
Kiffin reiterated that whether the Trojans win or lose against UCLA, the season is not going to be judged a success, which is not exactly news to USC fans.
I have news for Lane Kiffin...
This game matters...A LOT!
Especially this year with no bowl game on the schedule and a program in rebuilding mode and the NCAA ripping this program apart. The only thing that will make this bitter pill easier to swallow is beating your two biggest rivals!
So far Kiffin is 0-1. If he loses on Saturday night he will have done in one week what it took Pete Carroll 8 years to accomplish.
USC and UCLA fans/alums intermingle thoughout the L.A. area and beyond out west. You have families that literally have alums that went to both schools. My family is one of them...Dad and two uncles went to USC While mom, brother, two uncles and an aunt went to UCLA. New years day football parties were always a sight to behold.
I understand the pageantry of the Notre Dame rivalry. More often than not it has always had national implications.
But the game against UCLA matters as well!
Right or wrong, the USC-UCLA rivalry has been seen as regional rivalry. I can't remember the last time these two teams played when national implications were on the line for BOTH teams when they squared off...
Kiffin may not see it as a big deal when it come to recruiting but is sure as hell matters to the fans, alums and boosters...you know, the people have pay a significant portion of the bills.
These comments only show me that there is nothing big planned for the team to get the fan base fired up. He is kidding himself if he thinks that this game doesn't matter to current players and prospective recruits...
How does Kiffin not get that?
Or as Reuben said in Ocean's Eleven......You're out of your god-damned mind!