USC Game: Facts and Factors

There is more riding on this UCLA/USC game this season than in any for sometime, and it's the first time since 2001 UCLA enters the game ranked higher than the Trojans...

• The UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans clash on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. in the Rose Bowl. The game will be televised by FOX, with Gus Johnson and Charles Davis in the booth, and Julia Alexandria on the sidelines.

• UCLA is 8-2 (5-2), and USC is 7-3 (5-3).

• UCLA is ranked 17th in the BCS, 17th in the AP and 16th in the USA Today Poll.

• USC is 21st in the BCS, 18th in the AP and 21st in USA Today.

• It's the 82nd time the two schools will play each other in football, with USC holding a 46-28-7 advantage. USC has won the last five in a row, and 12 of the last 13. Before that, UCLA set the series record by winning 8 in a row from 1991 to 1998.

• USC won last season in the Coliseum, 50-0.

• The winner of the game between the crosstown rivals will represent the Pac-12 South Division in the Pac-12 Championship Game November 30th.

• It's the first time since 1988 that the game's winner could control its own destiny in getting a berth in the Rose Bowl.

• UCLA enters the game ranked higher and with more wins than USC for the first time since 2001.

• UCLA's ranking in the BCS is its highest since 2005, when it was ranked 16th. The last time UCLA was ranked higher in either the AP or USA Today Poll was at the end of the 2005 season (13th on USA Today, 16th AP).

• The victor of the game, of course, gets ownership of the Victory Bel for a year.

• USC is coached by Lane Kiffin, who is in his third year in South Central. He is 25-10 at USC, and 32-16 overall as a college football coach, going 7-6 at Tennessee in his one season there. Kiffin is considered an offensive coach, functioning at USC's de facto offensive coordinator, calling the plays for the Trojans. Kiffin, 37, is a controversial figure, having been through a good amount of controversy in his two-year stint as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and his one year with the Volunteers. Controversy caught up with him again this season, too. He was caught lying about who he voted #1 in the Coach's Poll. He stripped L.A. Daily News Writer Scott Wolf of his credential without Wolf having violated any USC media rule. In the Trojans' game against Colorado, USC backup quarterback Cody Kessler changed his jersey from No. 6 to No. 35, to try to deceive Colorado on a two-point conversion, seemingly in violation of the NCAA rule about changing jerseys in an attempt to deceive the opponent. Then, two weeks ago against Oregon, a USC student manager deflated footballs before and during the game, apparently to give USC's pass-oriented offense an advantage. The manager was subsequently fired, and Kiffin swore no knowledge of the ploy. Kiffin is getting a good amount of grief from the media and even the Trojan faithfhul for a disappointing season, one in which USC began the season ranked #1, with Matt Barkley declaring he'd return for his senior season because of "unfinished business."

• If USC finishes the season ranked #20 or lower this year's Trojan team could be labeled the most over-rated team in college football history, with no other team ever being ranked pre-season #1 to finish the season ranked #20 or below.

• A controversy is brewing over the practice of the USC drum major stabbing the UCLA logo in the middle of the Rose Bowl field with his sword before the game. UCLA told USC not to do it in the game two years ago, but USC ignored the warning and did it anyway. This year, UCLA has instituted repercussions: if the drum major does it, the USC band will be restrained by security from taking the field at halftime for its show.

• USC's football program is in the middle of NCAA sanctions. This is the first season in three that USC will be able to participate in a bowl game or the Pac-12 Championship, with the NCAA banning it from post-season for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. It had to vacate all victories starting December 2004 and running through the 2005 season, including the 2005 national championship. It will lose a total of 30 scholarships over the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons.

• Both UCLA and USC will wear their home jerseys Saturday. The two teams returned to the tradition in 2008, after 25 years of being disallowed to do it by the NCAA.

• With UCLA head coach Jim Mora having 8 wins this season, only on coach has captured more wins in his first season at UCLA -- Terry Donahue with 9 wins in 1976; Tommy Prothro also had eight in 1965.

• Mora's mother attended USC.

• Two brothers will start at safety for the opposing teams, Tevin McDonald for UCLA and T.J. McDonald for USC.

• Saturday's weather forecast calls for a high in the low 70s and partly cloudy.

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