As I’ve hilighted recently, the UCLA-usc rivalry is a nasty one. Pretty much anyone who is knew to the rivalry and is associated with one of the two universities often finds themselves getting in on the fun.
So Jim Mora, the only UCLA football coach with no significant ties to the university in the past few decades, couldn’t help himself when attending a forum concerning Los Angeles’ ability to house an NFL team. Here’s what he had to say, via the L.A. Times:
Moderator Conan Nolan, a general assignment reporter for NBC in Los Angeles, asked Mora, “As the head coach of the other … of one of the only two teams we have in Southern California, do you want to see an NFL team? USC and UCLA, when you want to watch football, that’s where you go here.”
Mora said, “I think this area can support a pro football team as well as support UCLA and that other school.”
Boom, roasted. Jim Mora, the guy who was brought in to bring a fresh, new attitude to UCLA’s dry-ass football program, is now totally into the rivalry, refusing to call uSc by their name.
Of course, there has been some criticism (and you already know where the criticism of such a UCLA-friendly/UCLA-centric is coming from), mainly because some will say it adds pressure on the UCLA team to beat uSc, and while that’s true (and while it plagued Rick Neuheisel’s tenure because he would not stop talking trash about Southern Cal), you can’t help but laugh and smile a little.
Because Mora’s getting into it. The recruiting, life in Los Angeles, having young, hungry players give it 150 percent for absolutely no income. Everything. Mora has been trying to get into the college game since his last season with Atlanta (remember this?), and his demeanor — one of total “jackassery” and incredible straightforwardness — fits the college game perfectly (to a degree).
Some will read into it more than others — “he’s too brash!” or “Jim Mora is the greatest!” — but let’s see it for what it is: Fun ole’ smack talk about that other school.