There's a storm brewing in Los Angeles, the result of a season's worth of struggles, successes, accomplishments and disappointments. On Saturday, the clouds will open up and all the tension and hostility will rain down on the field of the Coliseum until only one team is left standing.
It's about bragging rights. It's about getting ahead on the recruiting trail. It's about giving their respective fanbases the right to claim Los Angeles as theirs for the next year. It's about completing the season in the most satisfying way possible: beating their crosstown rivals.
But this year, there's something more.
Enter the No. 23 USC Trojans, a team that looked as if it would absolutely implode seven weeks ago but is now 9-3 and undefeated in Pac-12 play under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Add the No. 22 UCLA Bruins to the mix, a team that started the season with lofty expectations of reaching Pasadena but has shown some great signs of weakness down the stretch.
These two teams started in very different places back in August but find themselves on a level playing field as Saturday approaches. For the Trojans, a win means reestablishing itself as the team in Los Angeles, while relegating the Bruins to the role of little brother once more. For UCLA, a win means continuing to shift the power dynamic in the city, proving that last year wasn't a fluke.
This year more than ever, to the victor will most definitely go the spoils.
It's USC. It's UCLA. It's Rivalry Week!
KICKOFF: 5 p.m. PT
PLACE: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Radio: 710 ESPN (USCTrojans.com will also carry the live stream)
Spread: USC (-4) according to VegasInsider.com