Whitney Blaine, SCPlaybook.com Beat Writer and Reporter
It doesn't matter that one team is 6-5 and the other 9-2. It's really irrelevant Arizona tore up the Bruins and the Trojans ate Wildcat. Because no number or statistic can overlook importance of the annual day when USC and UCLA duel.
Public versus private. The East hood versus Westwood. Blue and Red. This time these opposites don't attract. And especially during rivalry week, the two schools truly repel one another.
Sure fans are passionate about USC/Notre Dame too, but this crosstown showdown is more exciting than the Trojans and Irish because you don't have to go to either school to take a side. You don't have to know the traditions to know these two schools are not fans of one another.
No matter either school's season or record, fans come out of hibernation for USC/UCLA. People love to trash talk, love to boil the Cardinal blood or make Bruins blue in the face. This rivalry is great because fans young and old can appreciate the traditions that ensue each year.
This year's game is expected to be great because of the implications presented for the Bruins with a win over the Trojans. If UCLA beats USC, UCLA goes on to play in the Pac-12 championship game. If USC wins, the Pac-12 south representative is limited to Utah or Arizona State.
But the Trojans play its final game at home, one that also has the potential to be Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil and Nick Perry's last time suiting up. There are also two sets of brothers in the Jones (UCLA's Malcolm and USC' s Marshall) and the McDonalds (UCLA's Tevin and USC's T.J.) going head-to-head Saturday.
The passion is unquestioned. And that's what makes USC/UCLA consistently competitive and always emotional.
Dan Greenspan, SCPlaybook.com Beat Writer
Rick Neuheisel has done plenty of unintelligent things, as have we all.
He forced the Pistol offense on offensive mastermind Norm Chow, prompting an embarrassing divorce between the two. He lied about his interview with the San Francisco 49ers to then-Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges, which contributed to his ugly exit from Montlake. He insists on addressing the Rose Bowl crowd after every UCLA home game, driving an unfortunate wedge between himself and reality.
But Neuheisel is poised to top himself if he follows through on the ridiculous all-white jerseys the Bruins are rumored to be wearing Saturday night against USC.
He and former Trojans coach Pete Carroll went to the mat for the two cross-town rivals to restore the tradition of each wearing home uniforms: Red on one sideline, blue on the other.
That's the way it is supposed to be. Until 1981 anyway, when UCLA left the Coliseum to set up shop in Pasadena. There is something diametrically opposed about those two colors. There is no confusing the blue sky with a red rose. You pick one and stick with it.
Cardinal or powder blue: It defines who you are and where your loyalties rest during rivalry week, whether or not you get bragging rights for 364 days or are stuck saying wait ‘til next year.
No other rivalry in college sports has two such defined colors put in such close proximity. It defines the rivalry. Nay, it is the rivalry.
No one waits all year for Cardinal and Gold versus white. It's all about the colors, stupid.