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It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it

Going to the UCLA-Arizona game, instead of the USC-Oregon clash, might be the destination for Page 2 on Saturday just out of morbid curiosity.

October 26, 2010|T.J. Simers

I need your help.

Tell me where to go.

And no, I'm not eligible to be sent there quite yet.

I have to make the choice Saturday between Arizona- UCLA and Oregon- USC.

It's a no-brainer for Plaschke. What are the chances Monday on "Around the Horn" one of the topics is going to be Arizona-UCLA?

If I was a fan, there would be no other place to be this Saturday but the Coliseum. If I was a fan, I'd probably find myself watching "Around the Horn" on occasion, too, only later thinking about shooting myself.

Fan or not, just like Loyola Marymount basketball years ago, it's such a blast watching something as unconventional and successful as Oregon's offense. Who knows, I might even be watching the Chargers next head coach at work.

As for story lines, this is Monte Kiffin's 100th season as a defensive coach, and while he has been on the winning side against Cincinnati's no-huddle attack and Buffalo's "K-gun," this is a different century.

As interviews go, if the Trojans lose, Lane Kiffin will say they need to get better. If the Trojans win Lane Kiffin will say they need to get better. But he might actually sound as if he's awake, and I wouldn't want to miss that.

And as tweets go, I know there is already a lot being made of Matt Barkley's and his move to immediately delete what he had written after folks started reading it. I can certainly relate to that.

But it also goes to show you how much interest there is in this game, everything huge. And then there's UCLA.

I know — who cares?

The best thing that can be said about Saturday's game in the Rose Bowl, I guess, is there shouldn't be much traffic to fight.

So why would I even consider such a dreadful assignment?

Well, I think this whole football season has been about Rick Neuheisel. Is he really the right guy to lead UCLA?

Once the Trojans were ineligible for postseason consideration, the pressure was off Kiffin and USC, the spotlight shifting to Neuheisel. He said he understood, and talked about what a great season it was going to be for the Bruins with everyone watching.

This is Neuheisel's third year, his optimistic voice relentless, but so far it has been nothing but hot air.

The Bruins are 3-4, and the nonsense continues, Neuheisel quoted in The Times on Tuesday saying, "I still think we're going to get there," when talking about a bowl game.

The talk has never quite matched the performance, and should the Bruins fail to win a bowl bid, that would make two out of three years with Neuheisel in command.

As train wrecks go, the Bruins have lost two more players to suspension, and what does that say about the message being sent from coach to players and the importance placed on doing the right thing so the team doesn't get hurt?

UCLA needs to win three of its five remaining games to become bowl eligible, and although 6-6 seems nothing special, anything less will undoubtedly result in changes.

Nice knowing you, Norm Chow. Someone is going to have to take the fall, and Neuheisel probably has another year to prove himself before Athletic Director Dan Guerrero starts to feel the heat.

And it's going to happen if Neuheisel's squad doesn't walk the talk. I exchange communiques regularly with UCLA fans, and they are already a frustrated, angry group.

Now I worry if I'm not there Saturday, abandoning them for USC, they will have nowhere to spew their venom.

So where do I go? To the best game, or continue to be witness to the train wreck?

THE LAKERS' ring ceremony was brilliant, the idea of having teammates introduce each other the perfect human touch for a team usually treated in godlike fashion.

WILL PHIL JACKSON write a book about this last season with the Lakers?

"Yes," he said before the first game of the season, a good guess the title will be "The Last Stand," as he has already written "The Last Season," which came outafter the team's loss to Detroit in the 2003-04 NBA Finals.

In "The Last Season," he surprised everyone by writing Kobe was "uncoachable," and a "callous gun for hire" in describing him as a selfish player.

Can't wait this time to find out what he really thinks of Sasha Vujacic.

RYAN LEAF will be our radio co-host during the 8 a.m. hour Thursday on 1090 from San Diego.

In the 9 o'clock hour, Tom Lasorda will deliver a pep talk to the city of San Diego, home to so many losers.

In keeping with the San Diego tradition of always falling short, the two yahoos who normally do the morning show on 1090 put up their time slot in betting the Padres would make the playoffs.

The Padres gagged, much like the Chargers and San Diego native Phil Mickelson have done so often, but for the longest time the two yahoos failed to make good on the wager. And there was genuine concern on our part the Chargers would be eliminated from the playoffs before they did so.

But here we are, father and daughter scheduled to do Thursday's 6-10 a.m. show from San Diego, "I Love L.A." the theme music for the day.

As it is, everyone who lives down there wants to move to L.A. at some point in their lives, so at least for a day they can pretend.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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