USC or UCLA: Who Got the Bigger Boost Today?

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer ISeptember 26, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans congratulates quarterback Matt Barkley #7 after a touchdown during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18, 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On the day when USC nearly played a complete game, UCLA overshadowed them with the day’s biggest upset and finally a signature win for Rick Neuheisel.

Both teams, however, are feeling good about their victories today.  How do you fans feel?  Which team do you think got the bigger push emotionally

The Trojans’ defense got off to a sluggish start by allowing Washington State to go 80 yards on their opening drive.  It was the first time the Cougars had scored a touchdown on an opening drive in four years.

Also, in the first half, Trojan quarterback, Matt Barkley, threw two interceptions and had a third one very nearly picked off.

But UCLA had their problems early as well even though they dumped the seventh-ranked Texas Longhorns, 34-12.  After the first quarter, the Bruins had a minus six yards of total offense.

But by the time the final gun sounded the Bruins had amassed 291 yards, 264 on the ground.

Another positive for the Bruins was the turnover ratio, 5-2.  The Bruins recovered four fumbles and had an interception.

The Trojans, on the other hand, have had their problems the last two seasons getting and staying on the positive side of the turnover ratio.  Head coach Lane Kiffin had hoped the Trojans would come out ahead on turnovers against the Cougars.

But Barkley’s two interceptions evened out the turnovers at three apiece.  Time of possession was also nearly even at 30:36 for the Trojans to 29:24 for the Cougars.

That figure, however, is somewhat skewed as the Trojans had several quick-strike touchdowns in the first quarter including a 59-yard touchdown burst by Stanley Havili on the Trojans’ first offensive play and 11 seconds later a 25-yard pick six by Nickell Robey.

On the positive side, the Trojans cut their penalties for the second consecutive week.  USC was only penalized five times for 39 yards. That has to be a very good sign.

For UCLA, the passing game remains the problem area.  Although they outgained Texas on the ground, 264 yards to 85, the Bruins had just 27 yards through the air.

Nevertheless, this was a decisive win over a highly-ranked opponent for the Bruins while the Trojans’ victory came over the last place team in the Pac-10.

So, how do you fans feel about the two crosstown rivals and the Pac-10 in general?

Personally, I feel that the Trojans are good but not great.  They are 4-0 like I expected at this point but much less dominant on defense that I had hoped.

For me, the Bruins are a bit of an enigma.  They are actually a little better than I had expected.  They are 2-2 with two wins in a row over Houston and Texas.  I thought they would be 1-3 with a win over Kansas State.

The other team in the Pac-10 that is an enigma is Cal.  How could the Bears let Nevada hang 52 points on them and then hold Nick Foles and the Arizona offense to just three points for 59 minutes? 

Unfortunately for Cal, Foles threw a last-minute touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a narrow 10-9 victory.

Stanford keeps on winning with an impressive 37-14 win at Notre Dame while Oregon State hung tough with Boise State 37-24.

Oregon showed that it could be beaten, but a team cannot afford to turn the ball over against the Number One offense in the nation.  Turn it over and your toast.  Arizona State turned the ball over seven times and lost 42-31.

All in all, it was an exciting day of football for the Pac-10.  It will be interesting to read your takes on who has the momentum and the swagger, and which team is peaking at the right time.