I suppose tonight's UCLA-USC game will be somewhat the equivalent of a bowl game for both teams -- USC because it's being disciplined by the NCAA over stuff from the Reggie Bush era and can't go to a bowl game this year, and UCLA because it doesn't have a good enough record to go to a bowl. Back in the day this game -- Beban, O.J., etc. -- was almost always unpredictable. Whatever the records, you knew it would be a hard-fought game and that the team with the poorer record always had a chance. In the current time frame UCLA has only beaten USC once in the last 12 years. so it would really be sweet to post a win this time.
This is a UCLA team that could go either way -- show up and battle hard, or lay down and die. The Register's Scott Reid gives the Bruins the edge in some categories -- linebacker, special teams, secondary, coaching, intangibles -- and predicts a 20-14 UCLA win. I hope he's right. I'll be wearing lots of blue and gold and watching closely in a few hours, atavistic partisan that I am.