UCLA football has declared victory . . . without playing a game.
Los Angeles newspapers carried an ad this week with the bold announcement that "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over," above a photo of Coach Rick Neuheisel pointing to something -- USC? -- in the distance.
"It looks like our marketing program is convinced, huh?" Neuheisel said during the Pacific 10 Conference media call. "I saw it for the first time this morning. My wife said it was a nice picture. That's all I know."
USC can claim "Yahtzee" after the last six seasons, with a 70-8 record with six conference titles and two national titles. UCLA has a 43-33 record in that time, with visits to second-tier bowl games in San Jose, Las Vegas, El Paso and San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Occidental, left out of this discussion, has a 47-12 record and three Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles during the same period.
"Oh, wow," said UCLA senior defensive tackle Brigham Harwell when told about the ads. "Well, talk is talk and ads are ads. We got to earn that on the field. Obviously, USC's a great program. Right now the only thing I'm thinking about is lining up across from Tennessee's center."
Neuheisel said that he wasn't worried about giving USC players extra motivation.
"That game, in my experience, is a game where everybody brings their 'A' game," Neuheisel said. "I don't imagine we can get their guys to play any harder."
As for the claim of breaking the monopoly, Neuheisel said, "We have a way to go to get that accomplished. There is no use trying to hide it. That's our goal."
Talking about the Cardinal and Gold elephant in the room was a considerably different approach from that of Karl Dorrell, Neuheisel's predecessor. Dorrell wouldn't talk about the USC game for a week after the Bruins' 13-9 upset of the Trojans in 2006.
And what did USC Coach Pete Carroll think of all this?
"I don't know much about that," Carroll said during the conference call.
Later, Carroll was ready to have some fun. He joked about Neuheisel's photo in the ad, saying, "In a presidential race the guy has to say 'I endorse this.' "
What's my line?
Tackle Micah Kia tested his broken left hand during practice while wearing a cumbersome cast that was wrapped up.
Asked whether the cast was more awkward than it looked, Kia said, "Absolutely, and it looks very awkward."
Kia said he was making adjustments, particularly on a player going outside on him.
Kia may have a new cast put on the hand before Monday's game against Tennessee, "but that'll be up to the doctor," he said. He is scheduled to have an X-ray next week, but probably will be in a cast for a month.
Bumps and run
Offensive lineman Kai Maiava, a transfer from Colorado, injured his left knee during scout team drills and was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam. . . . Wide receiver Marcus Everett was held out of drills to rest a sore knee. . . . Freshman quarterback Nick Crissman injured his right shoulder while running the scout team, but returned to practice. . . . Wide receiver Terrence Austin, who injured his right wrist Monday, went through the full practice.
Times staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.