Rivalry Week: USC vs. UCLA

Avi Sholkoff

Staff Writer

Last year UCLA defeated USC for the first time since 2006. This year, UCLA looks to win once more. In 2013, UCLA will attempt to do something that the team has not done since Titanic was first released in theaters in 1997. UCLA must win at the Coliseum. With thousands of USC fans in attendance, Jim Mora must do all he can to lead his team to victory.

UCLA’s football team has undergone a dramatic transformation since the arrival of Coach Mora. Mora has developed Hundley into a top quarterback, something that the Bruins have not had since Drew Olson, almost ten years ago. Hundley has had a great season, thus far. He has thrown for 20 touchdowns, almost matching his total from last year, with two games left to play. Hundley has also vastly improved his rushing ability, scoring seven touchdowns, almost matching his nine from last year.

On the other end of Los Angeles, USC has had an inconsistent season. With the tension surrounding Lane Kiffin, USC had trouble at the start of the season. The turning point for Athletic Director Pat Haden came after a 62-41 humiliating defeat at Arizona State. Haden realized a change needed to be made after a 4-2 start and a 4-5 record dating back to last year. Since the promotion of Ed Orgeron to head coach, USC has won five of six games, leading to their return to the Top 25. Javorius Allen and Nelson Agholor have emerged as leaders on a team that struggled offensively at the start of the season.

At this time last year, both were preparing for their rivalry game. USC had just beaten Arizona State to end a two game losing streak, while UCLA had won four games in a row. With UCLA’s heartbreaking loss to Arizona State on Saturday, USC is now eliminated from reaching the Pacific 12 Championship.

USC is playing this game for pride. If USC can emerge victorious in this game, Coach Orgeron will show his impact on this squad. A loss would greatly worry athletic director Dan Guerrero about UCLA coach, Jim Mora. Mora’s team started out this season promising, but they have struggled lately. A win would reaffirm Guerrero’s faith in Mora and his ability to be the coach next year. Additionally, a win would give UCLA their first two game winning streak against USC since UCLAs eight game streak in 1991-1998.

When asked, Milken students generally leaned towards picking UCLA as the victors. Out of 57 respondents, 28 say they favor the Bruins in Saturday’s contest.  Could this be because many Milken students live in Westwood? One student said the following for this reason: “I’ve been a UCLA fan since birth”.

Another student was more blunt: “UCLA has a lot of potential, and they have not been accurately demonstrating this potential”.

17 of 57 respondents picked the Trojans to win. When asked their reason, one student said  “my father, his dad, and his brother all go to USC. It’s in my blood”. Another said “I just have been a USC fan loyal and true”.

With USC on a hot streak, and UCLA struggling, expect Javorius Allen and Nelson Agholor to showcase their skills against the Bruin defense that looked lost against Arizona State on Saturday. After a game where Brett Hundley was sacked 2 times in the last minutes of the fourth quarter,  USC is set up in a good position to brutalize Brett Hundley and the UCLA pass protection.

Predicted final score: USC 31 UCLA 24