Jim Mora held his last media scrum before UCLA’s 5 p.m. Saturday kickoff against USC, and talked a little more about the rivalry — including his history with the Trojans’ first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Jim Mora is the third-highest paid coach in the Pac-12, and the 19th-most well-off in college football.
According to figures collected by USA Today, Mora’s $3.25 million in total pay puts him behind Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez (a hair under $3.3 million) and Washington’s Chris Petersen ($3.68 million). It did list salary numbers for Steve Sarkisian, as USC is a private institution not obligated to disclose its financial details. Sarkisian made roughly $2.25 million per year, though that would have jumped to $2.85 million in his final season.
An interesting note in the Pac-12: Mark Helfrich, who coaches first-place Oregon, makes $10,150 less than Mike MacIntyre, who coaches last-place Colorado.
Unsurprisingly, the Big Ten and the SEC each had four coaches place in the top 10. Alabama’s Nick Saban leads the country with total pay of $7,160,187. That puts him $1,524,042 ahead of Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who holds second place.
UCLA’s starting right tackle Caleb Benenoch talked about the upcoming game against USC, and addressed the punch he threw at J.R. Tavai last season — one that earned him an early ejection.
The centerpiece in today’s LANG sports section is my story on UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who was abandoned by his mother at five years old. Upon joining the Bruins in September, he fulfilled a promise to his late grandmother.
I was on SportsCenter briefly this week to talk about what this Saturday’s rivalry game will mean for UCLA.
Some more coverage from LANG this week:
» How does rivalry week hype compare to the national expectations UCLA faced just a few months ago?
» Could penalties loom again when UCLA takes the field against a team that averages even more flags per game?
» After being reinstated, what is USC defensive back Josh Shaw’s status this weekend?
In lieu of the regular Weekly Q&A here, my colleague Scott Wolf and I will be hosting a joint live chat on Friday at 2 p.m. to answer any questions. It will be embedded both here and at the Inside USC blog.
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 19, 2014
Jim Mora acknowledged this morning that if someone drew a graph of UCLA’s season trajectory, “it would be rather jagged.”
At least the Bruins are trending up. In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday evening, UCLA climbed two more spots to No. 9 — putting the team in position for one of the “New Year’s Six” bowls if it can win out against USC and Stanford to finish the regular season.
ESPN’s latest postseason projections have the Bruins in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State, a scenario that assumes two straight wins followed by a close loss to No. 2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.