Believe it or not folks, the long awaited Rivalry Week has arrived.
This game may not have the implications of the Pac-12 South Championship, yet plenty of bragging rights are on the line for the 83rd installment of the Crosstown Showdown.
Both teams have three losses this season and are looking to emerge with the best record to not only capture the Victory Bell but also align themselves for excellent recruiting classes from Southern California.
The teams are ranked No. 22 and No. 23 in the latest BCS Standings, so neither club will be looking to back down in what should be another intense match up from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Tommy Watch 2013 is in full swing. Beat the bRuins! pic.twitter.com/BdhjNQGYyS— USC Trojan Knights (@Trojan_Knights) November 25, 2013
Just To Put Things Into Perspective...
USC leads the series with crosstown rival UCLA, 44-29-7 (dating to 1929, a 76-0 Trojan win), and will look to take back the Victory Bell after losing its clutches last season in the Rose Bowl 38-28. That being said, USC has dominated the recent series by winning 12 of the last 14 contests over the pesky UCLA Bruins.
So what does Coach Orgeron have to say...
Orgeron on whether or not he’s concerned about the players getting caught up in any distractions surrounding the team’s rivalry matchup with UCLA this week:
"I know our guys will be fired up for the game. I know there will probably be a lot of things said about the game outside our office, so those things we can’t control. But inside our office, and in our meetings and in our game-planning, we’ll stick to the plan.
It’s Game 8 (6-1 to this point) of our new season. Obviously, this is a big game for us. It’s a rivalry game. It’s our last regular season game, but there will be no difference in the planning, or the practice or the preparation."
On what he's seen from UCLA:
"Obviously, their whole offense revolves around Brett Hundley. He's a very, very good football player. He's a big, strong quarterback who can throw the ball. He operates well within the scheme.
I think he's the biggest threat running the ball and making plays when there's nothing there -- he's very hard to tackle. Shaquelle Evans is an excellent wide receiver. On defense they've got Anthony Barr -- one of the best pass rushers in the country. Those guys are just playing good football right now."
Best Case Scenario For The Trojans...
In 2011 in the last meeting in the Coliseum, QB Matt Barkley threw a USC record-tying 6 touchdown passes, including 2 each to record-setting WRs Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, to propel No. 10 USC to a 50-0 whitewash over crosstown rival UCLA in the sold-out stadium. Long story short, the stage is set for some awesome football.
Fun USC vs. UCLA Facts...
The Trojans are going after their second 10-win season in the past three years (and its 25th overall) during the Thanksgiving Weekend, which only takes place for the 16th time in rivalry history. Keep in mind, USC and UCLA are tied at 11-11-1 when both teams enter the game ranked by AP with the loser certainly drop from the ranks next week.