Relative Streaks

USC is going for its eighth win over UCLA, which would match the Bruins’ longest streak over USC. Well, “match” is a relative term. The margins of the Bruin victories: 3, 1, 6, 12, 4, 7 (after 2OT’s), 4, 17. The Trojan win margins: 10, 3, 27, 31, 25, 5, and 47.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Pete Carroll was asked Tuesday about the danger of looking past UCLA and toward the BCS title game.
But if anything, an informed person would argue the opposite is true. Carroll’s spent more time watching or mentioning UCLA than any time since he arrived at USC. In past years, Carroll rarely mentioned UCLA in staff meetings or conversations with associates. He even rebuked a staff member for makng a dismissive remark about UCLA in one conversation.
This year, however, he frequently mentioned the Bruins whenever he was around Heritage Hall and kept a much closer eye on their stats and performances. Whether or not this concern is justified is different topic, but the fact is Carroll’s pointed toward this game for months. Or at least had some concerns. I’ll expand on this later in the week.

Hurry Back

Tailback Emmanuel Moody (sprained ankle) is not supposed to return until a bowl game but he wants to play against UCLA.
“I’m trying to get back,” Moody said. “I want to get back for this one.”

Question Of The Day

Who was the first assistant coach hired by Pete Carroll when he accepted the USC job?
UPDATED: The correct answer is UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, who flew to Los Angeles the day after Carroll got hired and started recruiting.

Heisman Update

Interest seems to be very low this year but here’s how I’m thinking with one more week for some possible shuffling.
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden.

Nellum To USC (Again)

Long Beach Poly track and football player Bryshon Nellum gave USC permission to send his letter of intent to the Pac-10 today, a week after the Trojans released him because of a mix-up understanding NCAA rules by a compliance official. Nellum must sit out a year of football by signing in November but he probably will concentrate anyways because he wants to try to make the U.S. Olympic team.
Nellum’s decision will deflate some schools that wanted to sign him in the spring after USC released him.

Who’s Missing?

Look at the nine finalists for the Football Writers of America Assn. Coach of the Year Award.
Houston’s Art Briles, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr, Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, Hawaii’s June Jones, BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall, Arkansas’ Houston Nutt, Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Rutgers’ Greg Schiano, and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.

Sideline Irony

Carmen Trutanich, lawyer to several USC football players, and his arch-rival, vice president of student affairs Michael Jackson, were both on the sideline during the Notre Dame game. But Trutanich brought back up, with Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley by his side.