Friday, December 08, 2006
I still cannot believe that USC lost to UCLA. I’m always torn when the two teams play each other. My mom went to UCLA and my brother recently graduated from Southern Cal. But, there was no way I thought the Trojans were going to fold up like a cheese omelet the way they did last Saturday. It just proves a point – never underestimate the power of a long-time bitter rivalry. UCLA and USC hate each other. It goes all the way back to O.J. Simpson and Gary Beban and the fact that John Wooden’s Bruins basketball team spanked USC for so many years. The two schools are so different. You can see it in their student bodies, alumni and fans. USC people are more corporate. They wear their red sweaters and talk business when they’re not taking football. They’re more grounded and less creative. They are also a little arrogant. Bruin supporters are more whimsical. They’ve got a laid-back attitude, but are still very competitive. They are more likely to get a little wild and do crazy stuff. USC is like U.S. Steel. UCLA is like Google. USC fans drink wine and mixed drinks out of nice cups and eat steak and lobster at their tailgate parties. UCLA fans drink beer and Red Bull out of the can and prefer ribs or barbecued chicken at their tailgaters. This game was a classic example of how teams tend to look past an opponent they don’t respect. The Trojans were thinking about Ohio State in Arizona, not UCLA. They failed to finish, and nobody respects a non-finisher. The biggest surprise is that Pete Carroll let the team lose its focus at exactly the wrong time. You can talk about how Booty blew it, or how the Trojan’s defense didn’t step up, but the bottom line is that I blame the coach in a situation like this. So, now the Trojans get sloppy seconds and have to play a strong Michigan team that will be looking to take Southern Cal’s heads off. I predict a major letdown on the part of USC. They were so close, but they screwed the pooch by not being prepared to play a team that is obviously inferior. When we look back at the biggest upsets in college football history, this one will really stand out. In the end, I don’t think it matters, anyway. I believe that Ohio State is by far the most dominant team out there this season, and that no one ever had a chance to beat them in the championship game. I predict that they’ll spank Florida by at least 14 points. But, to think that USC’s season was essentially ruined by the Bruins is a tough one to swallow – they were so close and yet so far.