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Bruins and Trojans on the line of scrimmage during the 2012 Crosstown Rivalry Clash, won by UCLA 38-28. Photo courtesy of gentlemensguideoc.com
#13/#15 USC TROJANS (7-3) vs UCLA BRUINS (4-6)
DAY & DATE: Saturday, November 19, 2016
PLACE: The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
AT STAKE BESIDES BRAGGING RIGHTS AND THE VICTORY BELL: Continued contention and a possible Pac-12 South title for USC (If both Utah and Colorado lose), while UCLA has a chance to ruin the Trojans’ hopes.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Trojans lead 47-31-7 (Minus two wins due to NCAA sanctions, so it’s really 45-31-7)
FIRST GAME: 1929 – USC won 76-0
MOST RECENT GAME: 2015 – Trojans won 40-21
LAST UCLA WIN: 2014 – Bruins won 38-20
LONGEST WIN STREAKS: UCLA won eight straight from 1991-1998, USC won seven straight from 1999-2005
LINE: Trojans favored by 13
Highlights of the 2012 Crosstown Rivalry clash, played in the rain for the first time since 1961 and won by UCLA, 38-28, snapping a five-year skid to USC in the process. Courtesy of YouTube.
ALL RIGHT BRUIN NATION AND TROJAN FAMILY, THIS IS HOW I OFFICIALLY SEE THE ANNUAL CLASH BETWEEN YOUR BELOVED SCHOOLS GOING DOWN, INCLUDING WHAT I BELIEVE THE FINAL SCORE WILL BE:
Most fans on both sides see this game as a blowout, USC’s defense doing whatever they want against UCLA’s offense in particular, especially their running game which is ranked next to last in the nation.
Considering how the two teams have performed for the bulk of this season, it’s easy to not give the Bruins much of a chance.
But I will state this…
UCLA will come out extremely hard at the onset due to the fact that this is a rivalry game but also because of this:
I once heard someone say in a movie,
“The most dangerous kind of man in any society is the man with nothing to lose.”
I’ve always liked the contrasting colors worn by Bruin and Trojan fans during Crosstown Rivalry events, as shown here at the Coliseum during last year’s game. Photo courtesy of insidesocal.com
Multiply that by 85 and you have the Bruins’ mentality at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night as they will pose a threat to their Trojan enemies.
The reason: A very simple one – because they have nothing to lose.
I see the Bruins pulling out many if not all the stops to get points on offense, perhaps pulling a trick play of two such as a double reverse or a flea flicker or something of that nature.
Something to fool a USC defense that has been lights out the past few weeks in addition to going into a quick tempo spread, because doing things the way they have done them all season will not work.
Because of the nothing-to-lose mentality and a defense that’s capable of not letting the Trojans go crazy with yardage and points, this will not be a slaughter like that 50-0 massacre in 2011.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and former USC quarterback Cody Kessler exchanging pleasantries after the Trojans’ 40-21 win last year. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
Despite my belief that UCLA will play like rabid dogs and put up a desperate fight that will yield some good results over the course of the game,
One thing is preventing me from predicting a Bruin victory:
The offensive line.
It has been the giant Achilles heel in Jim Mora’s offense all year;
The reason why UCLA’s rushing attack is ranked 127th out of the 128 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, behind even teams like San Jose State and Hawaii!
The reason why career backup Mike Fafaul will be starting behind center as their lack of consistent success to protect the quarterback cost Josh Rosen his season, him getting his shoulder wrecked to the point of needing surgery after the Arizona State game.
The reason why at a pathetically anemic 309 total yards, Soso Jamabo is the Bruins’ leading rusher.
And the reason why at the end of the day, the Trojans will be able to cause damage in the backfield with sacks and tackles for loss as well as quite a few three and outs, particularly during the second half after adjustments are made.
Which will tire the UCLA defense in the fourth quarter and ultimately cost the Bruins the game.
Highlights of the 2013 Crosstown Rivalry game at the Coliseum, resulting in the Bruins’ second straight win over the Trojans, 35-14. Courtesy of YouTube
I’ve always considered myself as being objective, realistic, and not a “homer” with regards to being a member of Bruin Nation, particularly as far as covering my alma mater.
Which is why to predict a UCLA victory will take away at least some of my integrity as an online writer/blogger.
Simply put, I just can’t do it.
That’s why though the Bruins will show tons of guts in the game, the final score will be:
USC TROJANS – 34
UCLA BRUINS – 24
This prediction comes from the realistic and objective side of me, but from the side of me that’s a longtime Bruin Nation devotee, I say these five words:
I hope I am wrong.
It will be UCLA’s job to prove me wrong on Saturday night.
In fact, I have a special eight-clap for those Band of Bruins:
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 U…C…L…A… U! C! L! A! PROVE ME WRONG!”
THIS YEAR’S CROSSTOWN RIVALRY COVERAGE ISN’T OVER YET – WE’LL HAVE AN ANALYSIS OF THE GAME ON MONDAY, FEATURING WHAT I SAW AS THE CONTEST’S TURNING POINT.
IT WILL BE QUITE AN INFORMATIVE PIECE AS I WILL BE AT THE ROSE BOWL WATCHING THE WHOLE AFFAIR, SO BE SURE TO COME BACK TO THIS SITE!
The Rose Bowl, the site of Saturday’s Crosstown Rivalry game, which being that it IS on Saturday night will look almost exactly like this. P.S: This is the UCLA-USC game from 2014. Photo courtesy of uclabruins.com