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Rick Neuheisel and Pete Carroll Were Both Wrong for UCLA/USC Ending

The UCLA/USC crosstown rivalry is always heated and contentious, regardless of how well or poorly the teams are performing. One team may dominate the rivalry for a stretch of time but that doesn’t take away from the overall significance the fans place on this game. Out of all the years that the game has been played, we may have never seen a contest end with such heated emotion as we did on Saturday. With the game already out of hand at 21-7 and under a minute to play, Rick Neuheisel called a timeout to stop the clock and stop USC’s kneel-down efforts. The first mistake was made by Neuheisel who did not concede defeat and take his medicine. Bottom line, your team is not very good, they got beat by a better squad, admit the defeat and try to get better for next year. If UCLA wasn’t letting up and continuing to compete then there’s nothing wrong with USC continuing to compete.

USC was in the wrong for jeering, showboating, and taunting after scoring the touchdown. Scoring the TD on UCLA after the Bruins decided they weren’t going to go out quietly was enough of a statement; the touchdown was thoroughly embarrassing. The sad part is that it wasn’t the players acting independently that produced the skirmish at the end — they took their lead from their coach, Pete Carroll. Carroll acted childishly, unprofessionally, and without class. His team was better, they had proven it on the field, and they had embarrassed UCLA with the final score. Why not let the TD speak for itself? It surely sent Neuheisel a message to submit when you’ve been beaten, so why give the Bruins a chance to win the second game — the postgame fight? In both regards, each coach was in the wrong and should learn from his behavior. It’s also seemed like Carroll was taking out his aggression and frustration from the Stanford game out on the Bruins. Neuheisel may have ignited it by refusing to quit but Carroll went overboard in the celebration. He should have saved that for Harbaugh. Here’s the video of the UCLA/USC fight after the game:


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  • Gene

    Neuheisel had every right to call the timeouts, as long as he didn’t complain about the consequences. If he had been pissed off about the touchdown pass, then he would have been out of line and inconsistent.

    Carroll, when the timeouts were called, had every right to throw the bomb. However, he could have also run the ball or taken a knee. By throwing the bomb, he lost all credibility with regard to the high ground he was on when Jim Harbough elected to have Stanford go for two.

  • JS

    Part of the idea of taking a knee is to prevent an injury that could happen when running a regular play, whether a run or pass. One-upmanship aside, on that td pass, what if Brian Price had gotten through to slam Barkley on his bad shoulder or Damian Williams re-aggravated his high ankle sprain?

    And yeah, when the roles are reversed one of these years and Rick goes for two ahead by 27 in the fourth quarter, Pete has no business saying after the game, “What’s your deal?”

    And, look what happened to Harbaugh’s team the next week vs rival Cal…karma can be a bitch.

  • jeff J

    Pete Carroll has always been a little childish baby. What happened to all these great teams he is supposed to be having. He hasn’t won a NC since 2004, even with all of that great recruiting.