Mora learning about college rivalries

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
10:50
AM PT
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora is still pretty green when it comes to college football, so you'll have to forgive him if he's still learning about these rivalry things.

No. 25 UCLA plays at California on Saturday and will be trying to end a six-game losing streak there, as well as get another Pac-12 victory. But Mora, who is in his first season coaching at the college level after spending the bulk of the last 25 years in the NFL, has found out this week that some Pac-12 victories mean more than others.

The Golden Bears rank No. 2 on UCLA's list of rivals, behind USC. And while it's a distant second to the rivalry with the Trojans, it still means a lot.

"There's a lot I don’t know," Mora said. "There are many, many, many things I'm just trying to learn and one of those things is the significance of certain games to the university and the alumni and the public. This is one of those games, I come to find out."

The UCLA-Cal rivalry is deep-rooted. The Bruins have played the Golden Bears have met 82 times, tied with Stanford for most games against a single opponent (USC and UCLA have played 81 times). They have played every year since 1933, which also makes it UCLA's longest-running football series without an interruption.

They are part of the same university system and the teams even share the same fight song tune.

"I've learned that it's a little more significant than people might think," Mora said. "We get a lot of emphasis on our game versus Southern Cal, but this game versus Cal is I guess pretty significant as well."

Mora said he began to notice the players going a little harder in practice this week and then began to hear things on and around campus about how big the annual game against Cal is.

"We try as a team not to put any extra emphasis on any one game just because we're trying to develop a level of consistency but there are certain things that you just can't control," Mora said. "There are certain vibes that happen."

Rivalries certainly exist in the NFL, but Mora said they are much more intense in college.

"It's one of the great things about college football," Mora said. "It's one of the things I love about college football. The passion of the fans toward their university and maybe against another university. It’s pretty neat."

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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