O/NSO - UCLA preview

Performing to a sold-out Rose Bowl and a nationally televised ABC audience on Saturday afternoon, the No. 2 USC Trojans (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) will be on a 1:30 p.m. mission to capture an eighth consecutive victory over the unranked UCLA Bruins (6-5, 4-4 Pac 10) in the 76th Battle of Los Angeles

The Obvious – Performing to a sold-out Rose Bowl and a nationally televised ABC audience on Saturday afternoon, the No. 2 USC Trojans (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) will be on a 1:30 p.m. mission to capture an eighth consecutive victory over the unranked UCLA Bruins (6-5, 4-4 Pac 10) in the 76th Battle of Los Angeles, thus clearing the final obstacle in the Trojans inspiring four-week gauntlet to reach the BCS championship and play No. 1 Ohio State in Glendale, Arizona on January 8.

The Not So Obvious – With Bruins' announcement this week that they are headed to the glorious Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27, the mindsets of the two teams couldn't be more opposite. The Trojans see the Bruins as the ends to justify the means, a roadblock to national glory, while UCLA has no bowl-game distraction and can focus exclusively on ending that tormenting seven-game losing streak to the Trojans. So who will be feeling the most pressure? If you look at the stakes, it's a rather rhetorical question. This is where Pete Carroll earns the big bucks and if history tells us anything about Coach Charisma, the only pressure that will be paraded around the Rose Bowl will come from his vaunted cardinal and gold defense.

The Obvious – When UCLA coach Karl Dorrell approached the podium for his weekly news conference, he smiled and said, "Pressure's on me or what?"

The Not So Obvious – Perhaps Dorrell's smile comes from the fact that legendary Bruin coach Terry Donahue lost his first four games to the Trojans as head coach. Donahue, who replaced Dick Vermeil as the Bruins' mentor in 1976, lost by scores of 24-14, 29-27, 17-10, and 49-14. In contrast, Dorrell has lost his first three games to the Trojans by scores of 47-22, 29-24, and 66-19. So perhaps Pete Carroll will be doing Dorrell an historical favor by whipping the Bruins again so that Dorrell can say he is on par with Donahue. Did we mention that in Donahue's first four seasons he was a combined 29-15-2 while Dorrell is currently 28-20 with two games left, hence the smile?

The Obvious – The Trojans opened as 12 1/2-point favorites to defeat the UCLA Bruins.

The Not So Obvious – Sounds like too much or too little? Well, the O/NSO has a few words on the subject. Those words are Oregon State, Notre Dame, and the former Bruins' quarterback duo, John Barnes and Norman Dow. Oregon State is the only team to beat the Trojans and UCLA beat the Beavers recently in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans destroyed the Irish in the Coliseum, but UCLA played with great fire and could have won in South Bend and any Trojan can tell you it ain't normally easy to win at Notre Dame Stadium. Finally, much of the UCLA football tradition comes from upset victories over the Trojans, inspired by backup quarterbacks Barnes and Dow. However, if the Trojan play as well as they can play and the Bruins play as well as they can play, then the point spread is too shallow. If there is one thing the O/NSO can say about the boys from Westwood is that they compete and have done so for most of the year. If there is no early Trojan knockout punch, this one could get might squeamish, especially with the Bruins Justin Medlock, the premier field goal kicker in the Pac-10, waiting in the wings. Bring your "A" game, Men of Troy.

The Obvious – Everybody has an opinion on Saturday's game.

The Not So Obvious – Leave it to old Lou Holtz to keep his anti-Trojan hat on. Lou says this week that the Trojans aren't the No. 1 team to go to the Big Dance but "that's another story." Holtz argues that Florida is better than the Trojans and said the key to Saturday's game is the performance of the Bruins' offense. Holtz claims the Trojans have not played against a Top 25 defense this year. On the other side, Mark May says it's the Trojans all the way with the college game's premiere passing game and "no one stops Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith."

The Obvious – Wednesday night was a special "UCLA edition" of the WeAreSC dinner gathering at The Petroleum Club in Long Beach.

The Not So Obvious – After a tasty chicken dinner, a Trojan roundtable including ESPN's David Newbury and Darrell Rideaux, Fox and KSPN broadcaster John Jackson, former punter Mike MacGillivray, and WeAreSC's Garry P. gave their analysis. The consensus, of course, was the Trojans would be victorious on Saturday and the only way the Men of Troy fall to the Bruins would be for the Trojan offense to have an afternoon of turnovers. All agreed that former Trojan assistant DeWayne Walker, the first-year UCLA defensive coordinator had done a tremendous job of creating an aggressive defense. Of Walker, Rideaux said, "He demands the best and exemplifies leadership and creates playmakers. They (UCLA) like to rush three and drop eight in coverage and defensive end Justin Hickman has USC bloodlines and he can really get after it. I think that the Bruins will try to be physical with Dwayne Jarrett at the line of scrimmage."

The Obvious – There is the school of thought that the previous three pressurized games may have taken it out of the Trojans and some question whether the Trojans can get emotionally up for a fourth consecutive week.

The Not So Obvious – At Wednesday's WeAreSC dinner, former Trojan receiving great John Jackson said that he originally thought that four straight weeks of emotional football would cause the Trojan to lose a game along the line. Jackson, however, told a nice gathering of Trojan fans that because the Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame games did not come down to the wire, the Trojans are not an emotionally spent team and that he has no fears of a letdown.

The Obvious – Saturday afternoon's game is being televised nationally on ABC (1:30 p.m. PST) with Brent Musburger and Bob Davie again in the booth.

The Not So Obvious – While ABC gets the ratings on Saturday, FOX Sports may get the last laugh come Sunday. On Sunday at 5:00 p.m. (PST), FOX Sports presents the ALL STATE BCS SELECTION SHOW. The match-ups for this season's BCS games will be unveiled for the first time ever on national prime time television during the half-hour program.

The Obvious – Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Trojans' flagship radio station, 710 KSPN.

The Not So Obvious – Although blacked out in Los Angeles, Saturday's game will also be broadcast nationally on Sports USA Radio. There will be a unique prospective provided by former Trojan coach John Robinson who will analyze the affair with former UCLA coach Terry Donahue. To break the tie, former Trojan linebacker Troy West will be on the sidelines. And for those that need to know, Tom Dillon will provide the play-by-play.

The Obvious – The weather report for Saturday in Pasadena is sunny with a high of 75 and a low of 47.

The Not So Obvious – The O/NSO weather report is whether the Trojans really can get up four weeks in a row. History tells us they can and will, but we agree with Pete Carroll that last regular season games bring out the fire for both teams, and up the ante in a crosstown rivalry. Whether the Trojans' offensive line can protect John David Booty and whether Booty can avoid a self-inflicting second quarter from Disasterville, like last weekend's game against Notre Dame, will go along way in Saturday's outcome. Whether this game gets down to a field goal exhibition by the Trojans Mario Danelo and UCLA's Justin Medlock, only time will tell. As a reminder, the last time the Trojans played the Bruins in the Rose Bowl, it took a masterful five field goal performance by Ryan Killeen to ensure victory. Whether UCLA sophomore quarterback Patrick Cowen can be effective against perhaps the nation's top defense will make or break the Bruins' chances to keep it close to the fourth quarter. Let's face it, if Patrick Cowen or backup Ben Olson for that matter can do what Irish QB Brady Quinn couldn't do, beat the Trojans, then our hat is off to them, but we can't see it, not with a Bruin offense that has no starters on this season's first or second All-Pac-10 team.

The Obvious – Saturday afternoon's game will be the Trojans 10th straight 2006 regular season sellout.

The Not So Obvious – Naturally, there will a large mass of cardinal and gold to help support the Trojans and Trojan fans better bring their "A" game as well since Karl Dorrell is 11-1 at the Rose Bowl in his last two seasons. Karl's lone loss was that hard earned 29-24 Trojan victory. Shhhh, the Bruins are actually 19-5 overall under Dorrell at home. Most of the Trojan fans will be seated in both end zones, but as one confident long-time Trojan fan smirked, "Plenty of good seats will be available heading into the fourth quarter."

The Obvious – Before the Trojans victory for Notre Dame, a StubHub rep at the Coliseum said that if the Cardinal and Gold defeat the Irish, ticket prices for this Saturday's game would increase substantially.

The Not So Obvious – As of Thursday night, StubHub had ticket prices ranging from $135 to $600.

The Obvious – The Trojans and Bruins have met 76 times with the Trojans leading the series 41-27-7.

The Not So Obvious – UCLA first began playing football in 1919 but didn't play the Trojans until 1929, a 76-0 loss to open the season. Guess we know why the Bruins didn't play the Trojans for 20 years prior.

The Obvious - The general feeling of insiders is that Bruins' coach Karl Dorrell and Trojans' coach Pete Carroll are as different as night and day, much like Carroll is different than Notre Dame's Charlie Weis.

The Not So Obvious – At Thursday night's pep rally at the two schools, the Dorrell was somewhat low key as opposed to Pete Carroll who told the student and a mass of local television cameras that the Trojans were "going to kick the Bruins' butts." Carroll's quote was replayed on most of the major networks in Los Angeles during the 11:00 p.m. news.

The ObviousPete Carroll has no interest in letting his crosstown coaching rival, Karl Dorrell, off the mat, both on the field and in the recruiting arena.

The Not So Obvious – Carroll will have added incentive on Saturday considering that this will be a big UCLA recruiting weekend that is expected to include the Trojans' highly-valued Arizona recruiting duo of DE Everson Griffen and OL Kris O'Dowd. While both are rumored to be heavy leans to the Trojans, anything can happen, depending on the outcome of Saturday's game. It has happened before.

The Obvious – Last season, the top-ranked Trojans and the No. 11 UCLA completed the regular season in front of 92,000 fans at the Coliseum and the Trojans destroyed the Bruins 66-19 to clinch a berth in the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious – Certainly the Bruins are hopeful that without Reggie Bush, LenDale White, and Matt Leinart, things will be different. Of course, isn't that what Notre Dame's Charlie Weis was banking on? Ask any Bruin honk and they are all almost in agreement that the only hope their blue and gold have is for the Trojans' offense to implode.

The Obvious – Last Saturday evening, the Trojans seniors were recognized before the game by running through the Heritage Tunnel of football alumni, VIPs, and family members.

The Not So Obvious – There will a replay of last week's Trojan Heritage Tunnel for the Bruin seniors before Saturday's game and while those UCLA's seniors now know they will be playing in Emerald Bowl V against Florida State and Bobby Bowden in downtown San Francisco, it could be argued that the Trojan seniors are in a much more stressful situation with a national championship bid on the line. Certainly if the Bruin seniors are looking for some of edge, this might fit their fancy.

The Obvious – Saturday's game is a Rose Bowl sellout (91,500), the first of the home season for the Bruins.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans broke their own Pac-10 record for both total and average home attendance this season, as the Men of Troy played in front of an average of 91,480 per game.

The Obvious – The Trojans and the Bruins play for the Victory Bell.

The Not So Obvious – The 295-pound bell originally rested upon the top of a Southern Pacific freight locomotive. It was given as a gift to UCLA in 1939 from the UCLA Alumni Association. A Trojan fraternity captured the bell in 1941 and the Bruins were forced to find a replacement. In 1942, the bell reappeared in front of Tommy Trojan and the student body presidents of both schools signed an agreement that the winner of the game would keep the bell for the year. Oh, and to make a happy ending, the USC Alumni Association paid the UCLA Alumni Association half the cost of the bell to continue the tradition. As a side note, the bell is out of the public eye but for two days of the year. The schools only display the bell during the first 3 quarters of the game and then on Monday following the game, when it is delivered to the winning campus.

The Obvious – In order for the Bruins to win, Karl Dorrell said,"Offensively, defensively, special teams. We can't give up anything cheap. We need to play our best game of this season. Our offense is going to have to play their best game of the season. Our defense is going to have to play as well as they've been playing the last two weeks."

The Not So Obvious – Curiously, Dorrell has made no mention of support from the Bruin fans as a 12th man. Maybe Karl feels he needs to personally lead his fans like he did when he addressed a large audience at the annual USC/UCLA luncheon at a swank hotel in downtown Los Angeles. At the end of his game comments, Dorrell let out a very spirited "Go Bruins." The outburst led one observer to comment, "That's the most public emotion we have seen in his entire coaching tenure."

The Obvious – There is little question that a key to victory on Saturday will be the performance of the Trojans' defense, a defense that placed three players on the All-Pac-10 first team including nose tackle Sedrick Ellis and linebackers Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers.

The Not So Obvious – When you add second-team selections like defensive end Lawrence Jackson, linebacker Brian Cushing, and corner Terrell Thomas, it's not hard to understand how this defense has grown up. The feeling here is that it would be a surprise if the Bruins scored over 21 points on Saturday.

The Obvious – If it's Crosstown Week with the Bruins, it must be time for a Pete Carroll to the NFL story, this latest edition courtesy of Times' columnist Bill Plaschke.

The Not So Obvious – Carroll answered Plaschke's question of going to the NFL by saying, "Things are so good here for me right now, I can't picture a place that would be attractive enough for me to leave. That could change, but right now, I can't even imagine it." Sounds like a solid denial, but the "that could change, but I can't imagine it" does cause one to raise an eyebrow. Trojan fans probably would have preferred America's premier college football coach saying, " I am not going anywhere…end of story."

The Obvious – The Trojans provide fun for family and friends prior to the game with their Trojan Fan Fest in the peristyle end of the Coliseum, featuring sponsor booths full of giveaways, food, and music.

The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans going to the game will encounter a similar "party" called the UCLA Fan Zone. The Fan Zone, located in Area H, has the Bruins' sports radio shows and food concessions that include Carl's Jr., Baja Grill, Robin's Wood BBQ and Grill, Terry and Yaki, and Funnel Cakes Etc.

The Obvious – In the Trojan football media guide, there is a list of distinguished alumni which includes the likes of astronaut Neil Armstrong, sportscaster Frank Gifford, architect Frank Gehry, directors Ron Howard and George Lucas, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, actors Will Ferrell, LeVar Burton, Fess Barker and the late John Ritter, and film composer Elmer Bernstein.

The Not So Obvious – In the UCLA football media guide, there is a list of distinguished alumni which includes the likes of movie producer/actor Rob Reiner, Los Angeles Avengers' owner Casey Wasserman, actress Catherine Bell, Special Olympics California President Rafer Johnson, actress Heather Locklear, and actor Mark Harmon.

The Obvious – UCLA is coming off a 24-12 victory over ASU.

The Not So Obvious – The fact the game was at ASU says something about the competitive nature of these Bruins. What made the game impressive for the Bruins was the fact the victory was achieved after a home win against Oregon State, which broke a four-game losing streak to Oregon, Notre Dame, Washington State, and Cal.

The Obvious – The Trojan offense, under coordinator Lane Kiffin, is averaging 32.3 points per game, second in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins defense, under former Trojan assistant and first-year coordinator DeWayne Walker, is allowing 18.7 points per game, second in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – The Bruins, for their entire defensive prowess, had just one player, senior defensive end Justin Hickman, make the All-Pac-10 first team.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' defense has not allowed a touchdown for six straight quarters and has given up only one TD in last two games (Oregon State and Arizona State).

The Obvious – The Trojans are averaging 393.3 yards in total offense, third in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins are allowing an average of 302.6 yards in total defense, fourth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – Although this season appeared to be a reloading-to- rebuilding-to-reloading evolution, the Trojans' offense placed five players on the first-team All-Pac-10 team including QB John David Booty, receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, and linemen Ryan Kalil, and Sam Baker.

The Not So Obvious – A future first-team selection will be Trojan sophomore right guard Chilo Rachal, who received second-team honors. Rachal has been a real linchpin coming down the stretch and more than one observers has noticed the Trojans are increasingly going off the right side when they need short yardage. Of course, it could be argued that most defenses concentrate on the Trojans left side because of the presence of All-America left tackle Sam Baker.

The Obvious – All-Pac-10 center Ryan Kalil is a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center.

The Not So Obvious – With a national television audience, Kalil will have a chance to get some votes at the expense of the Bruins' linebackers. Speaking of Bruin linebackers, Bruins' junior middle linebacker Christian Taylor told the Daily Bruin, "Nobody is giving us a chance – you know, it's cute. At the start of this week (defensive tackle) Brigham (Harwell) told everyone to get your mind right. That's it. With all this outside talk about how great 'SC is, we just have to get our mind right and work."

The Obvious – The Trojans rank seventh in the Pac-10 in sacks with 26.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins have recorded 37 sacks this season, second in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – Bruins defensive end Justin Hickman, son of former Trojan offensive guard Donnie Hickman (1974-76), leads the Pac-10 in sacks with 12.5 and the Bruins have recorded 37 QB sacks in 11 games, while allowing only 17.

The Not So Obvious – The fate of the game could rest in the war between Trojan offensive tackles Sam Baker and Kyle Williams and UCLA's talented defensive tandem of Hickman and junior Bruce Davis, son of former Bruin offensive lineman Bruce Davis. Both Hickman and Davis were on the mid-season Hendricks Defensive End Award list. Davis is second in the Pac-10 in sacks. In All-Pac-10 Baker, the Trojans should be able to hold their own, so that again leaves Williams and his battles with Hickman as a prime attraction.

The Obvious – It was somewhat surprising last weekend when Desmond Reed, whose career was almost destroyed with that knee injury at Notre Dame, was not part of the coin toss against the Irish.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins are pulling out all the stops to beat the Trojans. UCLA will have as its honorary captain Jim McCullough, who lettered four seasons as an offensive guard and was on the winning side of this heated rivalry three times, including a 20-19 victory in 1982 that sent the Bruins to the Rose Bowl.

The Obvious –Trojan junior quarterback John David Booty (62.2%, 25 TDs, 8 int., 243.8 avg./g) is first in the Pac-10 in passing.

The Not So Obvious – So John David, who told an ABC audience last Saturday that he would be returning for his senior year, didn't get Pac-10 Player of the Year, beaten out by Cal's Marshawn Lynch. Don't shed tears for J.D. because his team could be headed for Arizona while Lynch's team departs in weeks for San Diego. What would you rather have, a Pac-10 championship ring or a Holiday Bowl souvenir? No, he's not quite Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart, but for a first-year starter, why does Booty have to explain winning a Pac-10 title and possible berth in the national championship game?

The Obvious – The Bruins will start Patrick Cowen (53.9%, 9 TDs, 7 int., 142.8avg./g) over 6-5 sophomore Ben Olson (63.7%, 5 TDs, 5 Int., 164 avg./g).

The Not So Obvious – Dorrell avoided a potential public relations nightmare had Olson started and created turnovers due to his inactivity. If Cowen is contained by the Trojans' defense, nobody is going to question the Bruins' leader if he brings Olson in out of the bullpen.

The Obvious – USC is a university of 17,000 undergraduates and 16,000 graduate and professional students.

The Not So Obvious – UCLA is a university of 24,000 undergraduates and 12,000 graduate students.

The Obvious – The Trojans' defense, under coordinator Nick Holt, is allowing 15.0 points per game, first in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' offense, under first-year coordinator Jim Svoboda, is averaging 23.5 points per game, seventh in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – The Trojan defense has been getting good work from sophomore defensive tackle Fili Moala.

The Not So Obvious – Maybe the light just turned on for Fili or it was getting enough reps in a game, but against the Irish, Moala did a wonderful job. And while we're passing out roses, you have to give credit to corner Cary Harris, the sophomore for Notre Dame High, who made a number of standout plays against the Irish receivers.

The Obvious – The Trojans' defense is allowing 299.1 yards per game in total defense, second in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins are averaging 329.3 yards in total offense, seventh in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – There is little debate that Newport Beach is a bastion of Trojan alums and the cardinal and gold flags fly freely on Balboa Island and Peninsula.

The Not So Obvious – One Bruin player who knows the truth is center Robert Chai, a senior sociology major from Newport Harbor High. This week Chai told the Daily Bruin, "I've been taking crap all four years since I've been here (because of the losses). SC is the biggest game of the year. A lot of people say, don't worry about these (early season) games, you just want to win this game at the end of the year."

The Obvious – The Trojan passing attack is averaging 251.4 yards per game, third in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' pass defense is allowing 209.5 yards per game, seventh in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious –The Trojans will attack the Bruins' secondary with receivers Steve Smith (15.7 avg., 8 TDs, 82.6 avg./g), Dwayne Jarrett (13.5 avg., 10 TDs, 74.2 avg./g), Patrick Turner (9.4 avg., 2 TDs, 24.7 avg./g) and tight end tight end Fred Davis (8.4 avg., 3 TDs, 22.3 avg./g).

The Not So Obvious – All-America receiver Dwayne Jarrett extended his Pac-10 record for career TD passes to 39 with three scoring receptions against the Irish. Jarrett will be fortunate to make any All-America teams this season, but there is no question that at the moment he is playing like an All-American. Do we expect the New Jersey native to enter the NFL draft? Let's put it this way, do I expect to see the sun come up tomorrow? Word is that Jarrett has considered returning to Troy.

The Obvious – Bruins' redshirt junior strong safety Chris Horton, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection, leads the Bruins in tackles with 81 and is second on the team in interceptions with two.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins also have the co-Freshman of the Year in CB Alterraun Verner, whose interception touchdown against Utah was the Bruins' first by a true freshman since 1989. However, raise your hands if you would trade the Trojans true freshman free safety Taylor Mays for Verner. May's was also part of the Pac-10 co –Freshmen of the Year. For the record, Oregon DB Jarius Byrd was part of the freshman honors, as well. Are you still in awe over watching Taylor Mays track down Brady Quinn on Quinn's 60-yard dash last weekend?

The Obvious – The Trojan athletic director is Mike Garrett, a 1965 Heisman Trophy winning tailback.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins athletic director is Dan Guerrero, a former UCLA second baseman and member of the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Obvious – The Trojan rushing game is averaging 141.9 yards per game, fourth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' rush defense is allowing 93.1 yards per game, first in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – Freshman C.J. Gable (4.5 avg., 3 TDs, 32.5 avg./g) will start again on Saturday and will be assisted by junior Chauncey Washington (4.8 avg., 9 TDs, 66.1 avg./g) and possibly freshman Emmaneul Moody (5.8 avg., 2 TDs, 51.0 avg./g).

The Not So Obvious – Looking to stuff the Trojans rushing attack are Bruin junior inside defensive tackles Kevin Brown (6-2, 293) and Brigham Harwell (6-2, 286). Ironically both are playing positions that were in dispute during their days of being recruited by the Trojans. Brown was thought of as an offensive linemen and Harwell, now playing inside where the Trojan coaching staff thought he could be a replacement for Mike Patterson, always thought of himself as a linebacker or defensive end. It figures that Brown will have a meet and greet with Trojan right guard Chilo Rachal while Harwell will test Trojan left guard Drew Radovich.

The Obvious – A key player in the Bruins' defense is free safety Dennis Keyes, the junior from Canoga Park.

The Not So Obvious – Dennis (6-2, 208), who had hoped to be a Trojan coming out of Birmingham High as Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year, will have his hands full with the way that John David Booty is winging the ball in the secondary and improving his progression reads. Keyes, however, is used to a full days work as he has 50 solo tackles on the season.

The Obvious – The Trojan defense is allowing 95.5 yards rushing per game, second in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' rushing game is averaging 124.7 yards per game, seventh in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – The Bruins' feature junior running back Chris Markey (4.9 avg., 2 TDs, 82.9 avg./g) and sophomore Kahlil Bell (4.0 avg., 2 TDs, 34.1 avg./g).

The Not So Obvious – We like both Markey and Bell. Markey is an intriguing double threat as a runner and receiver (7.8 avg, 0 TDs, 22.7 avg,/g). Both Markey and Bell have the quickness to at least not be a stationary target for coach Ken Norton's killer linebackers. Markey is the quicker of the two, but we like Bell's competitive spirit.

The Obvious – The Trojan pass defense is allowing 203.5 yards per game, fifth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins' pass offense is averaging 204.5 yards per game, sixth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – The Bruins have unspectacular receivers in senior Junior Taylor (11.5 avg., 2 TDs, 27.2 avg./g), junior Marcus Everrett (13.8 avg., 5 TDs, 30.1 avg./g), junior Brandon Breazell (15.6 avg, 3 TDs, 28.3 avg./g) and sophomore tight end Logan Paulsen (13.9 avg., 0 TDs, 26.5 avg./g).

The Not So Obvious – Junior Taylor missed last year's rivalry game at the Coliseum due an early season ending injury against Oklahoma, but boy do Trojan fans remember the damage he inflicted two years ago at the Rose Bowl when the Mesa, Arizona native had five catches for a team-high 89 yards, including a 39-yard reception in a Bruins fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

The Obvious – There has a bit of an uproar over the fact that Trojan sophomore strong safety Kevin Ellison wasn't given consideration for All-Pac-10 selection.

The Not So Obvious – No to worry, Trojan fans, we have learned that Kevin made the O/NSO All-DeSean Jackson first team.

The Obvious – The Trojans place kicker is junior Mario Danelo, who is 12 of 13 on field goals, first in field goal percentage in the Pac-10 Conference with a long of 44 yards.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins feature senior place kicker Justin Medlock, who is 24-of-28 on field goals and second in Pac-10 field goal percentage with a long of 51 yards.

The Obvious - Trojan sophomore punter Greg Woidneck is averaging 38.5 yards per kick, ninth in the Pac-10.

The Not So Obvious – Bruins' senior punter Aaron Perez is averaging 41.6 yards per kick, sixth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious –The Trojans are averaging 51.8 penalty yards per game, sixth the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – The Bruins are averaging 66.0 penalty yards per game, ninth in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – The Trojans are certainly the national game of the day with the BCS championship at stake.

The Not So Obvious - The Pac-10 also offers the "Could this be the upset of the entire series?" Stanford at "Holiday Bowl here we come!" Cal (12:00 p.m., FSN), and for the nightcap, it's "Wow, we're 8-4" Oregon State at "Wow, we're 10-2" Hawaii (9:00 p.m., PST ESPN2).

The Obvious And finally, the final two games of the season will be either in Pasadena and Glendale or Pasadena and Pasadena.

The Not So Obvious – Don't know about you, but we love Pasadena on New Year's Day but somehow a trip to Glendale sounds more appealing, especially when it's in the state of Arizona. Last one to MapQuest pays for parking.


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