A little pregame back and forth:
Blair Angulo (UCLA Blog): The USC-UCLA rivalry has a lot of history. And recently, the blowout in 2005, the upset in '06, last year's last-minute touchdown heave and near brawl at the Coliseum. UCLA players remember it. And don't think students have forgotten the Bruin statue splashed in cardinal and gold. I assume your hands are clean, Pedro?
Pedro Moura (USC Blog): They are indeed. But I don't know if I can say the same about some USC students, who apparently threw a ton of red food coloring into a fountain on UCLA's campus this week. I guess they had to drain out the whole fountain and re-add water into it.
Moura: So there's a game this week between these two schools. It's on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and although both USC and UCLA are having mediocre-or-worse seasons, it seems like there's a good amount of fan attention surrounding this one. Right?
Angulo: Definitely. As ugly as it may be, you can't look away. It's like a terrible episode of “Cops.” This is still USC-UCLA -- or UCLA-USC, as some prefer it. Over the last few years, players have ditched the sidelines, met near midfield and nearly come to blows. That's reason enough to watch.
Moura: Listen to the man. So, what Blair and I are going to try to do here is compare each of the two schools in every way possible other than on the football field (think national championships, famous alumni, all that good stuff), hopefully leaving you with enough knowledge for a few Saturday digs at your crosstown rival friends, whichever side you're on. We'll call it 'The Tale of the Tape.'
Angulo: For obvious reasons, UCLA fans like to brag about alums Jackie Robinson, Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Bill Walton (still Bill Walton) and others. Does USC have an equal trifecta of non-football athletes?
Moura: Let's see...USC's got a few memorable former student-athletes, although I don't think they quite measure up to Kareem and Jackie: Mark McGwire? The Big Unit, Randy Johnson? Tom Seaver? I'll give you a fourth, too: Lisa Leslie.
Angulo: I'm surprised you didn't throw Mark Prior in there.
Moura: I am too, actually. So I was about to head over to Wikipedia's list of famous USC alumni to check up on some Olympians, but I don't think they bring with them the same notoriety that the baseball and basketball players do -- but it's still worth bringing up. Doesn't USC have the most alumni have who won a medal in the Olympics of any college in the U.S.? That's got to be worth something for those Trojan fans suffering from a 7-5 season.
Angulo: What's the enrollment at USC like right now? In your estimation, what percentage of that number has been to a game at the Coliseum this year?
Moura: It's approaching 35,000 students, with roughly 17K of those undergrads. Of those 17 thousand, I'd say maybe half have made the half-mile trek from campus out to the Coliseum. Die-hards, I know. What about UCLA and the Rose Bowl?
Angulo: Enrollment is close to 40,000 at UCLA. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the student section, which has been half empty (half full?) for all of this year's home games. People just aren't buying their tickets to the "pistol" show.
Moura: Understandable. So what else is there to compare between the two schools? National titles? Heismans? UCLA has one of each, right?
Angulo: Correct. UCLA earned a share of 1954 national title. Gary Beban became UCLA's first and only Heisman Trophy winner 13 years later. Not too difficult to remember. What's the tally at Heritage Hall now, sans Reggie Bush?
Moura: Six, formerly seven -- and 11 championships.
Angulo: Enough football talk. It's making me dizzy. Here's a good topic: What's the best movie directed by someone associated with each school? For UCLA, I'll go Francis Ford Coppola's “The Godfather.”
Moura: Any one of the “Star Wars” flicks made by George Lucas would be up there. Jason Reitman's Up In the Air is too, and any of the three recent flicks from Judd Apatow, too.
Moura: Oh, and USC has The O.C. from Josh Schwartz, too. Can't forget that.
Angulo: Ha! Gotcha. Some would say the Star Wars films aren't anything without the music of noted composer John Williams, a UCLA alum.
Moura: I wouldn't know. Haven't seen any of them. But I'll take your word for it. Let's wrap it up -- fans are getting anxious, I can tell -- with one final did-you-know about each school. Blair?
Angulo: Pedro, did you know that the Internet -- yes, the Internet -- was born at UCLA in 1969? They should have never given USC access, though. That would have been something. Where would that rank on the list of crosstown pranks?
Moura: I did not know that and am quite surprised to learn it. I think that trumps my USC factoid, but I'll stick with it anyway: You know that guy who famously shouts "Goooooooal!" when teams score on a lot of Spanish-speaking soccer broadcasts? His name's Andres Cantor, and, yes, he went to USC.
Angulo: I thought USC didn't have a men's soccer team?
Moura: He must have got his training calling field goal kicks for the football team. Or something. Who knows?