USC is 1-3 overall this season and 0–2 in Pac-12 play. Already the Trojans have put themselves in a hole in the division.
Although a Utah loss would have helped UCLA as well — making it harder for the Utes to get out of an early conference stumble — USC flailing early will help the Bruins on their march to winning the South Division.
Even if UCLA loses to Stanford, the Bruins are only one game down with eight more to go in conference. That is enough time for UCLA to turn things around.
At the same time, USC can turn things around, but looking at their trajectory, it does not look good. Although the Trojan’s schedule eases up a bit with games against ASU, Colorado, Arizona and Cal, there are other problems, and that will last well beyond the limits of this season.
This is a sinking ship and everyone across the nation can see that. If UCLA does not screw things up in their own way, the Bruins can capitalize on the downtrodden Trojans.
In addition to taking advantage on the football field (which we hope happens later in the season), UCLA will also be able to take advantage in recruiting.
Despite the Trojans being able to get almost any recruit just by flashing the three letters “U-S-C”, the program is starting to look less and less attractive. UCLA and USC will always be in a tight battle for several recruits every year, but as we saw last season with the firing of Steve Sarkisian, the Bruins were able to lure away 5-star LB Mique Juarez.
Sep 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton reacts during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
But enough about USC, they are leading themselves over a cliff. The Bruins need to take care of their own business.
UCLA made coaching and schematic adjustments in the off-season to improve off of last year. They have come out of the non-conference season with a 2-1 record and had their share of ups and downs, but now it is time to take control.