Plaschke: You read it here first: UCLA football will beat USC

UCLA will beat USC.

It’s loopy to foretell this sport, loopy to danger the outpouring of ridicule if unsuitable, loopy to try forecasting probably the most evenly matched crosstown rivalry duel in a few years — loopy, loopy, loopy.

Doing it anyway.

Doing it as a result of that is what UCLA does.

The Bruins have been deflated, they’re embarrassed, they blew their probability on the nationwide playoffs with an unthinkable loss Saturday evening to Arizona and …

And here comes USC, rolling alongside, three wins from probably its personal playoff spot, no lure losses here, solely a blindingly vivid future and…

And that is when UCLA knocks USC’s lights out.

This looks like 13-9 in 2006. This looks like John Barnes in 1992. The Bruins don’t have any momentum, no mojo, they’re wounded, they’re cornered…

Yet proper now, they’re higher.

This doesn’t imply UCLA has a superior football program. It would not. This does not imply UCLA can win and all of a sudden declare metropolis dominance. It most definitely can not.

This just isn’t a “Westwood, Ho” prediction column from 21 years in the past, parts of that are nonetheless mockingly shouted at a sure columnist as he walks down by way of the Coliseum seats, thanks very a lot.

USC has 11 nationwide championships in football; UCLA has one. USC has seven Heisman Trophy winners; UCLA has one.

Now and perhaps ceaselessly, on faculty football fields from Pasadena to Exposition Park, USC nonetheless owns this city.

But UCLA will personal Saturday evening.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams talks with coach Lincoln Riley through the Trojans’ 42-25 victory over Arizona State on Oct. 1. USC is 9-1 however has not overwhelmed a ranked group this season.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

The Bruins will personal it and no less than quickly droop the assumption that the Trojans’ Lincoln Riley is a few kind of deity and his group of high-priced free brokers can simply steamroll by way of the neighborhood.

Riley has seemingly put the Trojans on a path in direction of greatness, however they don’t seem to be there but.

The Bruins will personal it and save the rejuvenated Chip Kelly from one other offseason of skepticism and derision, cease everyone from questioning why he is nonetheless here and what on this planet was Martin Jarmond pondering.

There’s been no harsher criticism of Kelly than on this house, however on this fifth season he has change into engaged and progressive and maybe even inspirational.

UCLA will personal Saturday as a result of the Bruins have the very best quarterback, a five-year veteran who lives for these moments, a child who actually hurdled his option to greatness in final 12 months’s sport when his group pinned a rivalry-record 62 factors on the Trojans.

Caleb Williams of USC is terrific, however UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is healthier.

The Bruins will personal Saturday as a result of they’ve a Heisman-worthy operating again, a hulking and rolling rock who this season has averaged practically eight yards each time he has touched the ball.

With USC’s Travis Dye sadly injured, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet will have the highlight — and the sector — to himself.

The Bruins will personal Saturday as a result of their sensible and suffocating offensive line has 4 seniors and graduate transfers who opened such big holes that the group gained 402 yards dashing in opposition to Arizona State and Charbonnet did not even play.

The offensive thoughts of Riley is unmatched, however UCLA’s offense — statistically and virtually — is definitely higher.

The Bruins will personal Saturday, lastly, as a result of their protection, in contrast to USC’s protection, just isn’t the dregs of the earth.

UCLA can truly rush the passer. UCLA may even sometimes cease the run. UCLA would not have the nice takeaway skill of USC, and, in actual fact, has a reasonably awful total protection. But USC’s protection — which surrendered 500-plus yards in consecutive video games this season — is even worse.

Special groups? UCLA has an on-field coach devoted to that vital part of the sport. USC would not. Case closed.

A season that started with USC getting all of the headlines — this columnist even wrote they may be the very best group on this nation — has morphed right into a largely memorable autumn for UCLA.

The Bruins have a reasonably shocking 8-2 file with overpowering wins in opposition to then-No. 15 Washington and then-No. 11 Utah. The Trojans, in the meantime, are 9-1 however with no top-25 win.

While USC is enjoying for a nationwide playoff spot, UCLA is enjoying for a extra lifelike and equally enduring prize. The Bruins cannot win the nationwide title, however they’re three wins away from enjoying of their first Rose Bowl in 24 years.

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet stiff-arms Utah linebacker Karene Reid during the Bruins' 42-32 win Oct.  8.

UCLA operating again Zach Charbonnet stiff-arms Utah linebacker Karene Reid through the Bruins’ 42-32 win Oct. 8.

(Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

More than something, UCLA is enjoying with no concern of this talent-clogged USC group. The Bruins will not be intimidated by their extra glamorous neighbors. Their tradition was retrofitted with confidence after their 62-33 victory final season. They know they’ll do that.

“We know we will replicate it,” Bruins defensive again Mo Osling III informed reporters Saturday evening. “We’re going to have slightly bit of fireside beneath our butts. Go on the market and simply put it on show.”

In entrance of an precise Rose Bowl crowd that needs to be making actual dwell noise, that show will finish with a glowing scoreboard that one can see here first.

UCLA 42, USC 35.

Crazy? Anything however.

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