Saturday, November 28, 2015

#UCLAvsUSC to Determine Line-Up for #Pac12 Championship Game — And More! (VIDEO)

Following-up from Thanksgiving, "UCLA Bruins Riding the Wave of College Football's Crosstown Rivalry in Los Angeles (VIDEO)."

See the O.C. Register, "USC-UCLA about more than bragging rights this year":

LOS ANGELES – Forget bulletin board material.

The lead-up to Saturday afternoon’s UCLA-USC rivalry game offered little as far as shots or verbal sparring between the players and coaches.

“I’m not too big into rivalries and hate for another school,” USC’s two-way star Adoree’ Jackson said. “I’ve got much love and respect for those guys over there.”

Among the Bruins, they hardly expressed love, but they avoided needling their crosstown counterparts. No one publicly said “Southern Cal,” a name unpopular among USC fans and officials, so much so that the school’s media guide explicitly requests it not be used.

During his first few years as UCLA coach, Jim Mora rarely turned down the opportunity to utter the term.

But the Bruins have moved on.

“We’re finger tips away from what we’ve worked so hard for,” UCLA sophomore linebacker Kenny Young said.

Both No.22 UCLA and USC go into this game knowing a win gives them the Pac-12 South title and a rematch with Stanford.

The winner advances to the Dec.5 conference title game in Santa Clara against the Pac-12 North champion Cardinal, which has been a thorn in the side of both programs lately. Stanford has won eight straight against the Bruins (8-3, 5-3 in the Pac-12) and five of the past seven against the Trojans (7-4, 5-3).

“It’s really not about the rivalry,” USC senior defensive tackle Antwaun Woods said. “It’s about fixing our errors. We’re not really worried about them or the rivalry.”

Clearly, much more than city bragging rights are at stake.

A win will be a narrative-shaping moment for either side, adding to USC interim coach Clay Helton’s case to take the reins on a full-time basis or putting Mora in position to win his first Pac-12 championship in his four seasons in Westwood. The former NFL coach has had little trouble putting away the Trojans, winning all three previous meetings by double-digits, but he has yet to beat either of the North Division heavyweights, Stanford and Oregon...

Plus, at the Los Angeles Times, "UCLA and USC paths were filled with rocks but still could be strewn with roses."