A previous diary from SactoBruin (which I felt was dead on) gave me pause regarding an evaluation of USC, UCLA, and the state of each school's major sports programs.
Throughout the last couple weeks, I have been intrigued by the number of comments regarding USC basketball, especially from those who believe $C will always suck, won't show sustained improvement, and will surely wilt down the stretch. While I hope those comments are true, it is my opinion that USC's rise in basketball is not completely short-term, and further, I think USC has done more to ensure USC's long term success in the two major sports than UCLA. I hate USC, but in terms of long-term projections, it is my opinion that they have a better chance of success in two-sports (when looking at them combined at this point in time) than UCLA.
UCLA basketball will always be superior than USC basketball. I truly believe that. Sure USC may be "closing the gap," but we are talking about a gap that approximates the size of the Pacific Ocean, and by the time USC approaches the Hawaiian Islands, we will have 5 more National Titles and the gap will be more obvious than ever. It's hard to get better than National Runner Up (though I expect we will soon), but USC can't get any worse.
All that said, and I hate admitting it, at least USC has tried to get better in Basketball. THEY have a new arena. It may be "like Costco", but it is new, and meat-headed recruits like Mayo will like the ugly colors and the big window (which is almost always closed so you can't see the ghetto). Also, USC has Tim Floyd. He is not Ben Howland, but he is way better than Bibby. Furthermore, Floyd is a well respected coach with experience, and will no doubt make USC better. Sadly, I am not surprised at all that Floyd has USC looking better in his second season (looks eerily like what Howland did in his second year-OH I hate writing that).
So, even though UCLA is king in basketball, I think USC is improving, and they hired a good coach. So let's look at Football.
USC has dominated the Pac-10, UCLA, and has been a huge national player recently. UCLA, sadly pathetically embarassingly, hasn't done squat. We have lost some games to mediocre teams in mediocre bowls, and sometimes we have beaten teams in mediocre bowls. We are, in a word, MEDIOCRE- AT BEST! We are a national laughing stock at WORST. We aren't getting better. We don't have something exciting to get fans to come to the Rose Bowl, and we don't have a coach that anyone can believe in. We have mediocrity. UCLA's football program is pathetic. Yes, I believe (unlike those in the media) that UCLA has 10 times the football tradition than the USC tradition (if you can call it that) in basketball. But that doesn't change the fact that our football tradition is eroding, and USC's basketball tradition is potentially on the rise.
My conclusion is this: USC's basketball program under Tim Floyd has a better prospect of long-term success than UCLA's football program under Karl Dorrell. And I don't think its even close (unfortunately).
I think we can rail on SC, especially when they talk about their basketball team being as good as UCLA's (what a joke), but the fact is, SC is actually doing something about its inferior 2nd major sport (basketball). Instead of getting riled up about that success, however, I think we should be asking - why isn't UCLA doing something about its inferior football team?
If you accept my conclusion that FLoyd is a good and above average coach (some won't, that's fine), can anyone right now say that USC doesn't have the better long term prospect as a two sport giant in college sports?
Both USC and UCLA fans hate to be labeled as one sport schools. So . . . WHY THE #*%& is USC DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT WHILE WE SIT AROUND HOPING THAT KD WILL HAVE A GOOD ENOUGH TEAM NEXT YEAR SO THAT HE WILL ELECT TO LEAVE US FOR THE NFL!
Go Bruins, get healthy Prince Luc.