The Bruins are definitely excited after a roller coaster year to be in the position that they are in. UCLA is playing for the opportunity of playing in the first Pac 12 Championship game. A win against the vaunted Trojans and that's exactly what they will do, play for all the marbles.
If the Bruins do indeed win, there will be no asterisks winning the south. It will be a legit championship. UCLA knows that it is a tall order playing such a great program as USC and in their home stadium, no less.
The Trojans are an explosive team with playmakers everywhere. For the Bruins to win they will have to put forth their best effort of the season.
USC is a very talented team and they have great coaches. It is not surprising that they have improved to the point that some think the Trojans are playing the best football in the country right now.
The Trojans have been able to do so with a lot of young players like redshirt freshman linebackers like Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard. They kept getting better as the season went on.
When the opposition stacks the box, the Bruins have to get their quarterback, Kevin Prince involved in the running game or they have to get the ball down field. Last game against Colorado was the prototype of what the Bruins would like their offense to do.
Prince was very efficient throwing the ball and yards per attempt was very good. The Bruins also ran the ball very well.
The offense is beginning to move in the direction the UCLA head coach, Rick Neuheisel wants it to go.
UCLA's offense started to jell after the Arizona game when Prince became more aggressive running the football. He is doing what the coaches want him to do and the offense is beginning to hum.
For the Bruins to play a good football game against the Trojans, they have to be aggressive across the board.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley has been outstanding all season long. He does a great job of getting the ball out of his hand and because so USC has given up the least sacks.
When Neuheisel first arrived his goal it was to play USC for the conference championship and now he has the chance. Brace yourselves Bruin fans, UCLA is playing for the South Division crown.
That being understood, UCLA is still a work in progress. The Bruins need to be more of a tough minded team meaning when one side of the ball is struggling, it shouldn't bother the other side. They should take care of business until the other side starts to jell. That is what good teams do.
On the road that has not always been the case and they need to fix that situation before this weekend.
Being UCLA's head coach is Neuheisel's dream job. It's the place that he grew up and he wants to be able to take the Bruins where he thinks the program belongs. UCLA has been there before and they will be there again.
There is still some work work to do and he hopes to be around to see it through. Neuheisel is full speed ahead and is planning on being at the helm for the next 20 years, but he is well aware, especially with this year that the job is fluid.
There are lots of factors involved in the decision of this kind, but he thinks good things are in store with this program. Not only this year, but years to come. He hopes to keep the momentum rolling.
Playing in the UCLA/USC game, if you grew up being a UCLA Bruin, this is the game you dream to play. There is nothing like lining up against the Trojans in a game of this magnitude. That's the reason you come to UCLA and in like days of old, this UCLA/USC game means something.
UCLA is playing this game to win the South Division going through the front door. UCLA has that opportunity. The Bruins have closed the gap with USC because of the fact they are playing for the South Division championship. UCLA hasn't had that chance in the past.
Now on Saturday Night, when they line up against USC, the Bruins will find out where they are and how much they have closed that gap. The gap is closer now then when it was when Rick Neuheisel arrived to UCLA.
Neuheisel's own favorite UCLA'USC memory was his senior season when going into halftime the Bruins were down 10-6. They found out that Washington State won the Apple Cup thereby making it possible with a Bruin win they would represent the Pac 10 in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins ended up winning 27-17 and went to the Rose Bowl where Neuheisel was MVP.
This game gives life long memories. If you as a participant are foolish enough not to work hard for your preparation then you are missing out on an opportunity that will be life long.
Yes, this is a big game.