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2015 USC Football: Why USC and UCLA Will Be a National Story

USC and UCLA are heading toward a huge showdown.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In the words of ESPN's Danny Kanell, there is a lot of football left.

Yet two weeks into the season a trend is starting to take shape.

Each year there is an "it" rivalry that dominates the national discussion. 2014 had Baylor vs. TCU. 2013 had Auburn vs. Alabama. 2012 had Oregon and Stanford.

2015 appears to have USC and UCLA.

Neither team has played anyone of note, but the national media is already starting fill their airwaves with discussions on UCLA and USC. ESPN analyst Joey Galloway picked UCLA as his second best team in the nation. The AP has both programs in their Top 10. It's only a matter of time until rivalry talk heats up.

The Trojans are a traditional power littered with NFL talent. Cody Kessler, Su'a Cravens, and Max Tuerk are potential first round draft picks. They are a sleeping giant waking up from probation and scholarship limits. Throw in Sark's drinking scandal and the nation can find a USC conversation anywhere it looks.

UCLA is 2-0 thanks to freshman QB Josh Rosen. He has thrown 574 yards, 4 touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 142.1 while looking impressive for all 120 minutes of action. Rosen is the "it" freshman, and he is aided by the play of 2014 Pac 12 rushing leader Paul Perkins, who led the conference with 1575 yards. Their defense is strong. Their coach has pedigree. They are still a new topic nationally, and new means interesting.

Each team is about to face their first test of the 2015 season. USC will play Stanford this weekend, while UCLA hosts 19 BYU and Hail-Mary specialist QB Tanner Mangum.

The hype train will be in full effect if they look dominant this weekend. All aboard!

Baylor and TCU are both highly ranked, as are Ohio State and Michigan State. But given the national burnout on Baylor/TCU and Michigan State's boring style of play, neither should be expected to drive the national conversation.

USC vs. UCLA is a classic rivalry. The home uniforms. The stadiums. The history. UCLA is new. USC is back. It is a rivalry that dominates Los Angeles. This year it may dominate the nation.