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Morning Briefing

August 23, 2008|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Dude, that is such a cliche excuse

They don't even play it until Dec. 6, but when USC meets UCLA in football for the 78th time, it's going to be something to remember, right?

Not necessarily, according to Ivan Maisel, who says in his new book that USC-UCLA is the most overrated rivalry in college football.

Maisel is a college football specialist as a senior writer at ESPN.com and his book is "The Maisel Report: College Football's Most Overrated & Underrated Players, Coaches, Teams and Traditions."

"There is a rivalry. There is some emotion. There is some dislike. But, c'mon. It's in L.A.," Maisel wrote.

"These people don't know how to hate a college football opponent. The weather's too nice. There's too much else to do.

"College football is just not important enough."

Maisel's other most overrated rivalries: Notre Dame-Michigan, Tennessee-Florida, Clemson-Florida State, Pittsburgh-West Virginia.

Trivia time

Besides the 40-second clock, what's another big rule change in college football this year?

Hold it

The Orlando Sentinel scored a coup in its football section that came out Friday with near-identical smiling photos of Barack Obama and John McCain posing with footballs.

The difference: Obama grips the ball as if he's getting ready to throw and McCain holds the football like he's showing off a prize watermelon.

Conquest

The Football Writers Assn. of America preseason poll has USC No. 1, just ahead of Georgia, which seems to be the popular choice in most polls. It's the fourth time in the last five years that USC has started the season No. 1 in the football writers' poll.

No conquest

On the other hand, former Texas and Arizona coach John Mackovic, writing a guest column for mydesert.com, said Ohio State is going to beat the Trojans when they meet at the Coliseum on Sept. 13.

More Mackovic: "The Trojans might lose as many as three games this year with quarterback Mark Sanchez fighting to spend more time on the field than in the training room."

Man bites dog

Here's something you don't hear about often -- lower ticket prices.

That's what is going on at the University of Missouri for its men's basketball tickets, according to the Kansas City Star.

Last year, the Tigers were 16-16 and their season-ticket prices were the second-highest in the Big 12 (from $289 to $684) behind Kansas.

At least the Jayhawks, who won the national championship, were worth it.

Trivia answer

The five-yard facemask penalty is gone and all facemask penalties are 15 yards . . . or no call at all if the facemask is not twisted, pulled or turned.

And finally

Washington State quarterback Gary Rogers enjoyed hearing a talk about dealing with adversity from former Cougars quarterback Mark Rypien, according to the Seattle Times: "That was a great topic to hit on, especially since we're ranked 10th in the Pac-10."

--

thomas.bonk@latimes.com

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