Monday, December 1, 2008

Ten Reasons

Ed Note: OK, so I've been gone for a long time... a very long time. But I'm back for rivalry week.

Rivalry week is full of a lot of traditions. Victory Bells, bonfires, and parades. My own personal rivalry week tradition is to give 10 reasons why UCLA could beat USC. Here is the 2008 edition:

1. Buckets of Passion

When Rick Neuheisel was hired, he brought a new energy and enthusiasm to this program. Sure, the results haven't been that great, but that says more about the talent and depth of the personell than it does about their desire to win. This team hasn't quit all season and that will be an important element in a close game.

2. Chow Time

How can you lose when you have an offensive genius on your side? The Bruins have probably the best OC in the conference right now and you know Norm will have some special things up special for this game against his old head coach. A trick play, a lot of misdirection and a new look or two or three.

3. DeWayne knows Defense

In the last two seasons, coach Walker has had good success against USC. We all remember his brilliant 13-9 victory in 2006 where his defense held the Trojans to a single touchdown. But what many forget is the 24 point effort last season was pretty good considering how impotent our offense was in that game. If the offense can just hold their own then the defense can play well.. especially against a struggling Trojan passing attack.

4. The Rose Bowl?

Life's hard when you're a Trojan fan. Another Rose Bowl? Yawn. They don't care... they're not motivated. They are so spoiled that anything less than a NC game is a let down. Their fans, and players, and coaches are assuming a USC victory this week and they are already discussing how boring it will be to play in another Rose Bowl. Lack of focus = defeat.

5. The Rose Bowl!

UCLA is tough at home. Seriously. If the Bruins are going to win a big game it is going to be in Pasadena. The home field advantage is huge for us.

6. Which Craft

Kevin Craft is a good quarterback... except when he is an awful quarterback. If the good Kevin Craft can come back for a week then UCLA's offense can move the ball. If the bad Kevin Craft rears his ugly head again this week then USC will clown stomp the Bruins. Craft needs to channel all of the good advice and teaching he has received over his entire life.. and turn in the greatest performance of his career.

7. Even Steven

It is 2008. In even numbered years, UCLA does well. 'Nuff said.

8. The Monopoly is Over

Was UCLA's early season advertising campaign premature and ridiculous? Yes. Was it gutsy? Yeah, you know, it was. As much as people laugh about it now, that attitude of staring down the giant 600 lb gorilla in the room is what you need if you ever want to compete. Being affraid doesn't win games. Oh.. and for those that think that USC will gain some extra motivation because of this "smack talk"? They should note Harbaugh's comments about Carroll in 2007... and the corresponding result.

9. Punting is Winning

Punt baby punt. Seriously. Aaron Perez is a very good punter. UCLA punting the ball is a lot closer to a win than watching a Trojan defender run back an interception or fumble for an easy 6 points. UCLA needs to hang onto the ball and if that means punting away the ball and putting the game into the hands of DeWayne Walker's defense... then so be it. We stand a much better chance of winning with our defense on the field than our offense.

10. San Diego isn't that Far Away

Pasadeana... San Diego... what's the difference if you're a Trojan fan? They're all up and down Orange County anyways. I think our Ketchup and Mustard friends would actually prefer a trip to the Holiday Bowl this year, just for a change of pace.