Call it blasphemous, but I am married to a UCLA Bruin. So what, you ask? Well the problem is, I am a proud USC Trojan. Yes sir, a fiesty Trojan alum who happens to have married a man who actually played UCLA basketball. So you can only imagine how much he bleeds blue and gold, much to my dismay. And trust me, that does not mesh well with my closet full of cardinal and gold gear.
And since it's rivalry week, I can only tell you that the bantering between us and our Trojan/Bruin friends and the never-ending Facebook tags of USC-UCLA jokes and photos has been a bit more fierce than usual. Believe it or not we even got into a tiff earlier this week because he tagged me in a photo of him wearing his anti-USC shirt -- I can only say it's not appropriate for prime time television. Yes, we're a house divided and on Saturday afternoon we'll both be watching the 82nd football game between our schools, sitting side-by-side, secretly hoping our respective team whoops some serious tail.
I admit, the NCAA sanction jokes, Reggie Bush bashing and this season's talk of deflated balls and switching jerseys hasn't been easy to take. But it's always good to know I can rub a little salt in the fact that the Trojans have dominated the Bruins over the past decade. Although I will say my husband's instantaneous whispers of 13-9 from the 2006 game still tears deep into my gut. If only ... but I digress.
It has been a season of disappointment for the Trojans given that they were considered the No. 1 team in the nation at the start of the year and expected to compete in the BCS title game led by what everyone thought would be a strong Heisman candidate in Matt Barkley -- although even my dear sweet UCLA husband will tell you, I thought we didn't deserve that ranking from the get go. Meanwhile, Jim Mora, Jt. has brought a new life and swagger to the Bruin program and those dudes in Westwood have truly surprised everyone, including me. But when it comes down to it, a win in this crosstown rivalry during any given season does a whole lot for the soul.
And of course this year's winner gets to play in the Pac-12 championship AKA become video game highlight material against the Oregon Ducks, who frankly in my opinion, cannot be beat by any team in the nation! (See, even before being a USC Trojan, I am a college football fan at heart and refuse to watch the game with myopic tendencies toward my team -- and yes, my husband will be the first to admit that I always keep it real when it comes to sports. Thank you very much.)
So like all years, Saturday's match-up is more than just a matter of X's and O's. This ones for all the marbles, at least in this household. And like usual, I'm hoping Saturday's game will end with my husband's usual depressed mumble that has become music to my ears ... "Well there's always basketball season."
The USC-UCLA football game will be played at noon Saturday at the Rose Bowl and will be televised on Fox 11.
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN THIS YEAR'S RIVALARY GAME? USC OR UCLA? DO YOU THINK THIS IS A MUST-WIN GAME FOR COACH LANE KIFFIN?
Editor's Note: A similar version of this article was published last year on Cerritos-Artesia Patch during rivalry week.