For the students, staff, alumni, and fans of both UCLA and USC, the crosstown rivalry game is loaded with memories, but in 2011 the game will have no impact on national standings, PAC-12 standings, and post-season play. Let's explain why.
1. The Bowl Championship Series ranking totally eliminates any team under NCAA sanction from their rankings. However, the mathematical formula (algorithm) used by computerized ranking programs also discount the standings of the entire conference where the sanctioned school plays. The reason is that rankings used to calculate standings for the BCS include computer polls, the Harris Poll, and the USA Today polls. When strength of schedule is analyzed, some ranking systems will not rank schools who are under sanction. Therefore, all of the conference opponents of USC are then unfairly lowered in strength of schedule.
How unfair is it to Stanford and Oregon that they would be deprecated in national rankings by virtue of the USC NCAA COI action in 2010?
In the Harris and the USA Today polls, USC is not ranked because of Paul Dee's (mis)conduct as Chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions in 2010, where Mr. Dee sanctioned USC's program for allegations of impropriety. These allegations are false and yet no submission, no cross examination, and no legally admissible rebuttals were made by USC. Despite that fact, the NCAA still sanctioned USC and kept USC out of the rankings for the 2010-2012 seasons. With UCLA unranked and USC ranked 10 by the AP, the rest of the computers are acting like USC doesn't exist. How convenient for the SEC+2 and Big Twelve-3+1. Oh gee, look who's in the Top 5. Its the two conferences without sanctioned schools!
Therefore, despite AP ranking USC at #10, Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA have no improvement in BCS standing by way of playing the #10 team in the nation. In fact, Oregon and Stanford have computer calculations where they appear to have lost against an unranked USC opponent. Instead, they should get credit for playing a very strong team in USC. Is it really fair to the players at Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State that they would be lowered in their strength of schedule by virtue of an NCAA action for something that occured over 6 year ago? 2. The PAC-12 pulled a Larry. Larry decided that USC would be ineligible to play in the PAC-12 conference championship game. So, Larry eliminated USC from the Championship role in the South. This is like just choosing to unilaterally act like USC doesn't exist. Therefore, with the loss tonight of Utah against Colorado, UCLA has become the second place winner in the PAC-12, regardless of the outcome of the game tomorrow night. Nice Job Larry. In one fell swoop, you negated USC's national TV audience and negated the viewership of a USC v. Oregon or a USC v. Stanford rematch. Instead, you delivered the Oregon v. UCLA slaughterhouse. Does anyone really think that UCLA is competitive with the Ducks?
3. Cross town rivalry - in the last 20 years, there were periods where UCLA romped and where USC romped. In the middle of those periods, there was only impact from NCAA action and the politics. The off-field garbage really did more to impact USC v. UCLA than any particular down or series.
How sad that NCAA claims to support college athletics, when the reality is quite the reverse. The NCAA instead uses it's political monopoly to stomp on student athletes to the point where they are not allowed to compete for political reasons instead of letting them compete on the athletic field.