Silly, naive me.
I thought that being in their crosstown rivalry game, UCLA, while realistically having a less-than-good chance against the tenth-ranked (in the AP poll) USC Trojans in the Coliseum, would at least put up a fight.
I thought that the Bruins would at least be competitive.
And I thought that the Bruins would at least give USC a game.
USC 50, UCLA 0.
The Trojans’ 12th win in their last 13 games against the Bruins.
And the Bruins’ worst loss to the Trojans since 1930, when in the rivalry’s second game ‘SC put up a 52 spot against UCLA.
Which led the Bruins to take the Trojans off of their schedule for the next six years.
Some may say that USC coach Lane Kiffin ran up the score on the Bruins, particularly leaving quarterback Matt Barkley, who threw for 424 yards and a record six touchdowns, in through almost all of the fourth quarter when the game had already been in hand a long time before.
But in all honesty, while Kiffin could have – and probably should have pulled Barkley after his 5th TD pass early in the third quarter – it was as much the fault of UCLA’s defense as anything else…
Before this game, I wrote that Bruin defensive coordinator Joe Tresey’s defense, particularly the front seven, absolutely MUST stop the run and pressure Barkley in order for the Bruins to have a chance.
It was excruciatingly and painfully obvious that UCLA’s front seven did neither, as evidenced not only by Barkley’s 424 yards and 6 TDs in the air, but also the Trojans’ star receivers, Robert Woods and Marquis Lee, combining for 337 yards and four touchdowns on 25 catches with Lee, a true freshman, accounting for 13 catches and an overwhelming 224 yards by himself.
Curtis McNeal was a combination of O.J. Simpson, Marcus Allen, and Reggie Bush on Saturday, as the SC running back needed only 12 carries to get 125 yards, including a 73 yard touchdown run in the first quarter that essentially broke the Bruins’ back before they even got started.
As for UCLA, only Kevin Prince and Nelson Rosario had a decent night, as the Bruin quarterback managed 260 yards in the air on 21 completions, while Rosario caught seven passes for 118 yards.
The rest of Rick Neuheisel’s team, which may not be his team for much longer after this game as the specualtion of his firing has gotten stronger then ever, was – save for maybe Johnathan Franklin’s 55 yards on only nine carries for an average of six yards a pop – pathetic. And that’s putting it kindly.
To illustrate the patheticness, Derrick Coleman ran for all of three yards on three carries. THREE.
And what chances the Bruins did have of scoring ended in disaster as they were stopped on fourth down from inside the ten-yard line on one series, and USC safety T.J. McDonald intercepted Prince in the end zone on another series in the second quarter.
While UCLA can’t and won’t take the Trojans off their schedule, in my view this latest humiliation by one Los Angeles institution of higher learning upon the other marks the end of this crosstown rivalry as we know it, as it was plainly shown at the Coliseum that USC’s talent, consisting of mostly freshmen and sophomores, is so far ahead of the Bruins’ that it almost seems pointless.
And as degrading as this was, it will likely get worse, perhaps much worse, next week.
The reason: UCLA, having won the Pac-12 Southern Division when Utah lost to Colorado, will be heading to Eugene, OR for the inagural Pac-12 Championship Game.
Their mission: To try to win a Rose Bowl bid against an Oregon Duck team that scored 60 points on the Bruins the last time the two teams met in 2010.
Sounds like a suicide mission to me, as it’s highly unlikely that UCLA will be able to keep up with Oregon’s extreme speed.
With their record likely to go to 6-7 afterward, the Bruins will have to petition the NCAA for a post season bowl berth.
And it will be an opportune time for Rick Neuheisel to either be fired by athletic director Dan Guerrero, or to do the honorable thing and resign as it’s never been more clearer that the UCLA football program will never reach their potential and become the perennial contenders for the conference title that they should be as long as the former Bruin quarterback is coach.