For UCLA's Rick Neuheisel, this one's from the heart
The Bruins will be a different animal. In no small part because Neuheisel is, according to Snyder, "an extremely fine football coach, very intelligent (and) has good command of what he does with his program, as he did at Colorado."
Neuheisel won 33 games in his four seasons at Colorado, where the current coach is in his fourth year and has won 13. In his second season at UCLA, a distinct comfort level can be sensed from Neuheisel's days there as a quarterback and his previous experience in the conference.
"I do believe the Pac-10 plays a legitimate brand of football," he said. "Having coached in the NFL, I know that Pac-10 players show very well at that level. So I think our conference is a little bit underrated."
A chance exists to make another BCS crossover statement Saturday. Only Neuheisel won't feel as if he's going against some outsider with Snyder across the field.
"It makes me remind everyone involved in our program that we better be ready," he said. "He's a brilliant tactician and a great motivator. I know Kansas State will be here playing their best football game this year."
Kansas State at UCLA, 10:15 p.m.: This one might get ugly, considering UCLA is down a quarterback with Kevin Prince’s injury and already ranks 103rd in total offense. Kansas State might have a chance if they can keep up their strong recent defensive work and continue getting a big effort out of Big 12 rushing leader Daniel Thomas.
"We were underdogs, and that motivated us, the same will be true about Kansas State coming here. It will motivate them. To ignore that and act as if they're not going to come in here believing and working and excited about making their own statement, then we're crazy. We have too much experience on our coaching staff to not nail that point home and demand that we improve. It didn't matter what happened at Tennessee, we need to improve. We need to improve. That's the entire focus of the week."