UCLA Week: Buttoning things up

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans speaks with quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans in the fourth quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. USC won the game 38-35. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin made some interesting comments about the Oregon game on Saturday night....

After studying game films of his team's victory over Oregon, USC coach Lane Kiffin was less charitable Monday in his review of the Trojans' performance.

"Kinda crazy, after watching the tape, we didn't play all that well," Kiffin said. "I'm a little surprised. For a team that didn't play very well to knock off the longest home-winning streak, that would have surprised me a week ago."

Kiffin knows better than most because he saw all the tape, so who am I to question it?

Some of us might not agree without some specific things that Kiffin saw. I saw a lot of defensive players absolutely gassed who probably were falling back a step and not as crisp as they were when the game first started. It doesn't take much against a team like Oregon to suddenly find yourself on the wrong end of a big play.

Of course that means that a team like Oregon who has all that fire power has to execute when the chips are down.

I really see these comments as the launching point to make sure this team is focused fro Saturday's game against UCLA.

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This Saturday USC has a chance to send another group of UCLA seniors off into the sunset without having beat USC.

Saturday's game means different things to different things to different players. For USC it is a chance to finish this season on a high note while vanquishing their crosstown rival as they hope to secure a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 title game.

For UCLA it is a chance to try and beat their crosstown rival so they can secure that spot in the Pac-12 title game but it is also a chance to generate some buzz about a program that has hardly lived up to the expectations. A win might also save Rick Neuheisel's job.

But more importantly this group of UCLA seniors wants to get at least one win against USC before they head off into the sunset...

The annual game has tilted heavily toward USC, with the Trojans winning 11 of the last 12. The only player on UCLA's roster who has experienced a victory over USC is tackle Sean Sheller, a sixth-year senior who has been out since the second game because of a broken arm.

Sheller was a redshirt freshman in 2006 and part of the scout team that prepared the Bruins for their 13-9 upset of second-ranked USC.

"That was pretty fun," Sheller said. "It is one of my favorite memories. It was my first year; nobody expected us to beat USC. Being on the scout team, I felt a part of that victory."

Many USC seniors went through the experience of not beating UCLA until USC ripped off seven straight before the 2006 debacle.

It happens...sometimes a program goes through a dry spell.

A win for USC spring boards them into a lot of attention in 2012...especially with the full teeth of the sanctions taking effect next season.

A win for UCLA gives them some attention that they desperately need...attention that Slick Rick will try to spin that the gap has closed, provided he keeps his job.

This game means a lot...

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UCLA Tuesday: Notes - USC Trojans

Photo Gallery: UCLA Tuesday - USC Trojans

USC football: One up, one down in 2011 - ESPN Los Angeles

Three Questions with Coach Kiffin - ESPN Los Angeles

USC vs. UCLA: The top 20 players in L.A. - The Orange County Register

Season grades - ESPN Los Angeles
I think this is premature...the season isn't over yet.

Game 11 wrap-up: The rise of Troy " The Trojan Empire

USC football: Good news, bad news on injury front - The Orange County Register

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