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UCLA Week: Just another game...

<em>Say goodbye to this image...</em>
Say goodbye to this image...

There are many types of rivalries in sports.

Be it pro or college we know of all the major rivalries in football.

Regardless of what the fans think of the USC/UCLA rivalry, to some, it is just another least that is how the coaches are approaching it.

Coach Lane Kiffin won't give special preference to starting seniors playing their last game against UCLA this Saturday. "That would go completely against what we're about," Kiffin said. "We're about preparing for every game the same and not having distractions.That's a neat idea, but that's not the object of this game."

I see where Kiffin is going but this group of seniors is special. They weathered one of the worst storms in all of college football that they had absolutely nothing to with.

Kiffin is taking the same approach with regards to uniforms.

He has also said all week that USC will be wearing its normal home uniforms no matter what UCLA does. There was talk before the 2011 season began that the Trojans would break out some type of black-based combination for the season finale against the Bruins, but that was quickly squashed by the school's administration.

Kiffin said using alternate uniforms would go against his strategy to not overly hype up each of the Trojans' games.

"We talked about it all year," he said. "The game is about the preparation, not about the hype around it.

Like I said the other day, this all on Neuheisel and Guerrero...

Even some of the players are following the least publicly.

USC tailback Marc Tyler is not sentimental about approaching his final game for the Trojans. "Nah," Tyler said, "I don't feel no emotions."

Tyler said he is ready to move on, which is why he will not petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility and a chance to return for the 2012 season.

"I've been here way too long," Tyler said. "I'm 23."

Well, that's all well and good, but the fans know what's on the line.

A win for UCLA gets them to the Pac-12 title game while possibly saving Neuheisel's job. A loss will cost Neuheisel his job.

A win for USC pretty much secures, at least in my eyes, Lane Kiffin winning coach of the year. If Barkley lights it up he may find himself in NYC for the Heisman ceremony. A win for USC also sends a strong message to prospective recruits is the place to be. I don't necessarily believe that recruits would forget about it three months later...especially if Neuheisel is still the coach.

He will run all around town waving his flag that the gap has closed.

Lets jut make it easy on everyone...


- - -

Lose, Lose?

Scott wolf offers an interesting take on Saturday's game.

Neuheisel's accomplishments are paper-thin and made worse with comments like "The gap is closed. We're much closer to (USC) than we were when I first got here."

Oh really? Does he forget Karl Dorrell won 10 games in 2005 and beat USC in 2006? Or did Neuheisel mean the gap closed because USC is worse?

When you lose four games by 25 points or more this season, no one wants to hear about a gap closing. That is why Neuheisel might upset No. 10-ranked USC and still lose his job if the Bruins get blown out in the Pacific-12 Conference championship game.

By comparison, Kiffin's problems might appear trivial. Unless he starts losing. Kiffin walked into a crowded room of USC boosters Monday following the Trojans' upset of No. 4-ranked Oregon and received his biggest round of applause this season.

He wasn't fooled by the reaction.

I agree with some of his take and disagree with others here, even with his tinge of skepticism.

Regardless of Saturday nights results, those results will mean different things to different people.

- - -

My, how far this rivalry has fallen...

This is what happens when you take the money and run.

The game Saturday at the Coliseum starts at dinner time because television said so. It is the puppeteer. It paid to be so. Start-time decisions are based mostly on potential ratings. End of discussion. USC and UCLA run educational institutions. Television, in this case Fox, runs a business. Universities have many agendas. Television has one. Profits.

Haden: "This is a choice you make when you take the money. It's the age we live in."

Guerrero: "This is our brave new world. It is standard operating procedure, and I don't see it changing."

This is only worth discussing because we seldom do anymore. We just take it. A 7 p.m. game? Yawn.

I am not thrilled with 5pm PST starts let alone 7PM PST least not here on the east coast.

I can't tell you how great it was going to games in the 70's that didn't start at night.

Sadly, even if this rivalry was competitive, with National implications, the suits would still find a way to screw it up.