Weekly Q&A – USC answers

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I thought there was some sort of commitment to allow Pac-12 schools to play more games earlier than 7 p.m. this year. Is this true? If so, what happened to the commitment?

Yes, that was the news out of the conference before the season. The idea was that they could schedule Pac-12 Network games at either 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. local time to overlap with an ESPN or FOX exclusive TV window. The theory was that because they can now use those time slots, they could reduce the PAC-12 NETWORKS night games (start time later than 7 p.m.) by up to four. So it’s a matter of the fine print and the network the games are appearing on.

Many of the late games this year for the conference have been on ESPN or ESPN2, so they don’t fall into that preseason pledge.

The Pac-12 has actually had the same number of late starts (later than 7 p.m.) this year through 12 weeks as last year: 23. There has been one fewer late game on the Pac-12 Networks this year (five this year, six last year) so that part does fall in line with the preseason statement.

If you’re curious about how they build the TV scheduled each week, here’s a relink to an explainer from earlier in the season. Continue reading

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First look: USC at UCLA

USC quarterback Sam Darnold has been the big hero in USC's turnaround this season since a 1-3 start. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

USC quarterback Sam Darnold has been the big hero in USC’s turnaround this season since a 1-3 start. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

UCLA Bruins (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) vs. USC Trojans (7-3, 6-2 Pac-12)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT, Rose Bowl
TV: ESPN
Radio: AM 570

Scouting report: USC’s 1-3 start is a world away, thanks to fantastic redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. The Trojans are on a six-game winning streak with Darnold at the helm. In the seven games with the San Clemente alumnus as the starter, USC averaged 36.1 points, nearly 16 points more than the team’s first three games with Max Browne. The Trojans handed previously undefeated Washington its first loss of the season last Saturday. Darnold was 23 for 33 for 287 passing yards and two touchdowns in front of a sellout crowd at Husky Stadium. Adoree Jackson had two interceptions in the victory. Continue reading

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UCLA-USC game time set

UCLA will kick off its rivalry game against USC on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. ESPN will carry the broadcast.

The game was pushed to six-day selection, along with four other Pac-12 games. Washington State vs. Colorado was slotted in the 12:30 p.m. time on FOX, which made the it first-choice game among the TV partners.

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UCLA 2016 schedule preview: USC

UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen #3 fumbled the ball and USC Trojans defensive tackle Rasheem Green #94 picked it up and ran it in a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. USC defeated UCLA 40-21 in a cross town rivalry at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. 11/28/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen #3 fumbled the ball and USC Trojans defensive tackle Rasheem Green #94 picked it up and ran it in a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. USC defeated UCLA 40-21 in a cross town rivalry at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. 11/28/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ crosstown rival, USC.

UCLA vs.USC
Sat. Nov. 19 | Rose Bowl

2015 in review

The Pac-12 South championship came down on one game last November and UCLA faltered in the worst moment. The Trojans (8-6 in 2015, 6-3 Pac-12) snapped a three-game losing streak against their crosstown rivals and went on to play in their first-ever Pac-12 Championship Game. UCLA allowed 235 rushing yards, including 130 to USC running back Justin Davis while Josh Rosen committed three turnovers, including two on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. USC went through a tumultuous season that included former head coach Steve Sarkisian’s firing, but won five of its last six regular season games to earn a bid to the conference championship game. After losing to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, USC lost 23-21 to Wisconsin the Holiday Bowl. Continue reading

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UCLA coach Steve Alford: ‘I’ve just done a really poor job’

UCLA’s season fizzled out on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, with the Bruins losing a third straight game to USC for the first time since 1942.

Some more milestone from the 95-71 loss in the Pac-12 Tournament, one in which Steve Alford’s team never looked competitive …

» USC’s point total was its highest-ever in the rivalry, passing the 94 points it scored in an eight-point loss to UCLA in 1979.
» The 24-point margin of victory was USC’s largest since a 28-point win in 1945.
» The Trojans’ three wins against the Bruins this year came by a combined 57 points. They had not won two rivalry games by double digits since 1938.
» USC’s average halftime lead in those three games was 16.

“It’s been a really difficult two-and-a-half months,” Alford said afterward. “And it falls on me. This is where the buck stops and starts. I’ve just done a really poor job of getting to these guys over the last two-and-a-half months.”

Asked how he would defend himself to fans who are calling for his job, he said: “I’m not defending myself. I didn’t get into this business to defend myself. If I’m a fan, I’m upset too. It’s not a defense. If I’m a fan, I’m upset; I’m a coach, I’m upset. …

“Bad year’s probably an overstatement. It was a bad two-and-a-half months, bad league play. And that’s what it was. I think I’ve got the players’ attention. We’ve got a tremendous recruiting class coming in that we’re excited about. … So it’s back to work. It’s getting us back to the level of excellence that is required.”

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