UCLA will beat USC.
It’s loopy to foretell this sport, loopy to threat the outpouring of ridicule if improper, loopy to aim forecasting essentially the most evenly matched crosstown rivalry duel in a few years — loopy, loopy, loopy.
Doing it anyway.
Doing it as a result of that is what UCLA does.
The Bruins have been deflated, they’re embarrassed, they blew their likelihood on the nationwide playoffs with an unthinkable loss Saturday night time to Arizona and …
And right here comes USC, rolling alongside, three wins from presumably its personal playoff spot, no entice losses right here, solely a blindingly brilliant future and …
And that is when UCLA knocks USC’s lights out.
This looks like 13-9 in 2006. This looks like John Barnes in 1992. The Bruins don’t have any momentum, no mojo, they’re wounded, they’re cornered …
But proper now, they’re higher.
This doesn’t imply UCLA has a superior soccer program. It doesn’t. This doesn’t imply UCLA can win and all of the sudden declare metropolis domination. It most actually can not.
This isn’t a “Westwood, Ho” prediction column from 21 years in the past, parts of that are nonetheless mockingly shouted at a sure columnist as he walks down by way of the Coliseum seats, thanks very a lot.
USC has 11 nationwide championships in soccer; UCLA has one. USC has seven Heisman Trophy winners; UCLA has one.
Now and possibly endlessly, on school soccer fields from Pasadena to Exposition Park, USC nonetheless owns this city.
However UCLA will personal Saturday night time.
The Bruins will personal it and at the very least quickly droop the assumption that the Trojans’ Lincoln Riley is a few kind of deity and his staff of high-priced free brokers can simply steamroll by way of the neighborhood.
Riley has seemingly put the Trojans on a path towards greatness, however they’re not there but.
The Bruins will personal it and save the rejuvenated Chip Kelly from one other offseason of skepticism and derision, cease everyone from questioning why he’s nonetheless right here and what on this planet was Martin Jarmond pondering.
There’s been no harsher criticism of Kelly than on this area, however on this fifth season he has turn into engaged and modern and maybe even inspirational.
UCLA will personal Saturday as a result of the Bruins have the very best quarterback, a five-year veteran who lives for these moments, a child who actually hurdled his strategy to greatness in final 12 months’s sport when his staff pinned a rivalry-record 62 factors on the Trojans.
Caleb Williams of USC is terrific, however UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is healthier.
The Bruins will personal Saturday as a result of they’ve a Heisman-worthy operating again, a hulking and rolling rock who this season has averaged almost eight yards each time he has touched the ball.
With USC’s Travis Dye sadly injured, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet can have the highlight — and the sphere — to himself.
The Bruins will personal Saturday as a result of their sensible and suffocating offensive line has 4 seniors and graduate transfers who open such large holes that the staff gained 402 yards dashing in opposition to Arizona State and Charbonnet didn’t even play.
The offensive thoughts of Riley is unmatched, however UCLA’s offense — statistically and virtually — is definitely higher.
The Bruins will personal Saturday, lastly, as a result of their protection, not like USC’s protection, isn’t the dregs of the earth.
UCLA can really rush the passer. UCLA may even sometimes cease the run. UCLA doesn’t have the nice takeaway capacity of USC, and, in reality, has a reasonably awful general protection. However USC’s protection — which surrendered 500-plus yards in consecutive video games this season — is even worse.
Particular groups? UCLA has an on-field coach devoted to that necessary section of the sport. USC doesn’t. Case closed.
A season that started with USC getting all of the headlines — this columnist even wrote they may be the very best staff on this nation — has morphed right into a largely memorable autumn for UCLA.
The Bruins have a reasonably shocking 8-2 file with overpowering wins in opposition to then-No. 15 Washington and then-No. 11 Utah. The Trojans, in the meantime, are 9-1 however with out a top-25 win.
Whereas USC is taking part in for a nationwide playoff spot, UCLA is taking part in for a extra lifelike and equally enduring prize. The Bruins can’t win the nationwide title, however they’re three wins away from taking part in of their first Rose Bowl in 24 years.
Greater than something, UCLA is taking part in with no worry of this talent-clogged USC staff. The Bruins won’t be intimidated by their extra glamorous neighbors. Their tradition was retrofitted with confidence after their 62-33 victory final season. They know they’ll do that.
“We know we’re going to replicate it,” Bruins defensive again Mo Osling III informed reporters Saturday night time. “We’re going to have a little bit of fire underneath our butts. Go out there and just put it on display.”
In entrance of an precise Rose Bowl crowd that needs to be making actual reside noise, that show will finish with a glowing scoreboard that one can see right here first.
UCLA 42, USC 35.
Loopy? Something however.