Next week, USC and UCLA will go at it on the gridiron. That is obviously the most important Trojan-Bruin battle in this current college sports cycle. USC fans would gladly make a trade in which USC basketball doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, if it means that the Trojans and Lincoln Riley beat Chip Kelly and the Bruins on Nov. 19.
Of course, sports and life don’t work that way. USC would love to be able to thrive in both sports and gain the upper hand over UCLA in everything.
Football will resolve itself within the next 10 days.
Basketball? USC has already lost ground to UCLA due to the loss against Florida Gulf Coast. The Trojans are admittedly limited due to the absence of elite recruit Vince Iwuchukwu due to his heart condition. Andy Enfield faces a tough uphill climb in terms of getting his reworked roster to mesh on the court. The Trojans need a big two-week stretch in the second half of November if they are going to catch the Bruins.
Jon Wilner offered perspective on what USC could still achieve:
“Both schools are well positioned for basketball success as well,” Wilner wrote. “The Bruins are a preseason top-10 team with Jaquez and Campbell, while USC returns enough core talent to once again contend for a high seed in the Pac-12 tournament and NCAA bid.
“They could very well finish first and second in the regular-season race.”
USC is definitely behind in the race, even though Pac-12 play has not yet begun.