Chris Dufresne from the LA Times on what today's sacred game means to us:
You are not a real UCLA fan unless the thought of knocking USC out of the national title game today makes you giggle out loud in an empty room.
This nexus of neurons got you through a half-day of work Friday before you feigned a scratchy throat, went home, turned out the lights and tried to channel Tommy Prothro.
Like breathing, this is a basic, involuntary, primal, rivalry instinct.
Your season stinks, you're trying to justify the tanks of gas it'll take to get you to the Emerald Bowl, you hurt in your solar plexus and relief will come only when you see rivulets of mascara dripping down the faces of anguished Trojans cheerleaders at the end of today's joy-filled UCLA conquest.
You have already stamped and licked the envelope on the scurrilous, "take-that" letter you penned to ABC's Brent Musburger for, last week during the telecast of USC's win over Notre Dame, all but ordering the limousines for USC's escort to the Bowl Championship Series title game Jan. 8.
All USC had to do was get by UCLA, as if that were like flicking a piece a lint off your tuxedo before accepting the Academy Award.
*You owe your employers, who you've screwed out of the perks that go with winning seasons: ticket sales, licensing revenues, and major bowl appearances.
*You owe the few fans who have hung in there with your team for four years of mediocrity.
*You owe the alumni, who support your program your in and year out, even though you haven't produced much in the way of results to show for it.
But putting all these aside, Coach, YOU OWE THIS TO YOUR TEAM. You are leading a group of kids who have NEVER felt the pride of beating their cross-town rival. These young men have worked, sweated, endured injuries, and will gladly leave everything on the field tomorrow if YOU can find it within yourself to inspire them. Can you?
When warriors have prevailed against overwhelming odds, they didn't accomplish their miracles by being cold, calculating, and reserved. They did it by summoning every part of their souls to defeat the enemy. You do NOT have what it takes to play mind games against Pom Pom Pete, so don't even try. Instead, try taking a cue from someone who knows what it is to succeed when the dice are stacked against you:
"I've never had a whole lot of believers. Coming out of high school, people didn't believe. And then coming out of college, everyone in the draft didn't believe except for a couple of people."
That's your own player, Mo Drew. Coach Dorrell, can't you summon some emotion to fire up your team and win one for guys like him? Just once?
The Bruin Nation awaits your response.
Game thread will come up in a bit.