For USC fans, Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the perfect ending to the 2011 season as the Trojans defeated their crosstown rivals 50-0.
For UCLA fans, they were left wishing their season was over, but the Pac-12 South “champs” will travel to Oregon for an opportunity to play in the 2012 Rose Bowl.
It was one of those games where the details don’t even end up mattering all that much. Sure, USC quarterback Matt Barkley put up gaudy numbers. Even Kevin Prince had, statistically, one of his more productive passing games. Usually, there’s some silver lining to be found in the numbers. Here, though, only one thing matters.
50-0 just has some mathematical elegance to it, some perverse poetry. It’s not 46-3, or 58-17. Those games are blowouts, but 50-0 is an iconic scoreline, even more so than the 59-0 drubbing that BYU laid on UCLA in 2008. It’s difficult to explain.
What isn’t difficult to explain is the fact that it’s ridiculous that we’re comparing a 50-0 defeat to a 59-0 defeat. The most demoralizing question of the Rick Neuheisel era used to be: “How can a program like UCLA get humiliated that badly by a Mountain West team?” Now, that question is: “How can a program like UCLA get humiliated that badly in a rivalry game?”
Eshoff also wrote that while Neuheisel is in charge, “this can no longer be considered a rivalry.”
Well, the rivalry is back on, as Neuheisel was fired Monday after four seasons and a 21-28 record.
Ben Howland, you’re next.