Let me preface this by saying that I don’t mean to imply that those who didn’t play football can’t judge how the end of the UCLA-USC played out, I just have a certain perspective as a former football player.
Both coaches were correct.
His team down 14 with 52 seconds left and three timeouts left, Rick Neuheisel reasoned that with two more plays came two more chances for USC to fumble the ball. Was there probably a twinge of gamesmanship in the decision, a half-hearted jab at Carroll? Probably.
But once Neuheisel made his call, Carroll followed with the correct call himself.
If a coach calls a timeout, it means game on.
Carroll certainly had a bit of bitterness toward the timeout, but he made the right call. He tried to score when he knew the game was still in doubt, at least in the Bruins’ minds.
Now, the “skirmish” escalated not after the touchdown, but after USC’s blatant taunting on the sidelines. Did things get out of hand? A bit. I love the passion and the pride that the players have in their teams.
Where does that leave us? I think this rivalry just stepped up a notch. That 28-7 score is deceiving: USC realized that UCLA has caught up a little bit. Really, the Trojans had one sustained drive and benefitted from mistakes by some of UCLA’s youngest players.
All I know is both coaches were right and this is going to be fun.