As former UCLA football coachRed Sanders said of the famed crosstown rivalry: “It’s not a matter of life and death; it’s more important than that.” This year was an embarrassment for UCLA and an embarrassment of riches for USC, but a year’s a long time.

1. Heisman winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush will both be gone to the NFL.

2. UCLA maintains the longest winning streak in the rivalry — eight years from 1991 to 1998. USC can’t possibly tie that run. Can they?

3. Li’l 5-foot-8, 205-pound running back Maurice Drew will return, again coached by Eric “I ran behind Darian Hagan” Bienemy.

4. Brigham Young transfer quarterback Ben Olson will take us to the promised land, and remind everyone of that other lefty Bruin, Cade McNown.

5. A pair of wings: junior receivers Marcus Everett and Brandon Breazell.

6. Along with O.C. Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano and my cousin Alex Favela, I will be in South Bend, Indiana, on October 21 to see the Bruins play the Fighting Irish and watch some of that Irish luck rub off on the blue and gold.

7. USC’s 2006 schedule includes Arkansas, Notre Dame and Nebraska, who all should soften up the Trojans before SC plays UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

8. The Trojans’ “Get Out of Jail Free” card will be revoked when Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and SC alum Carmen Trutanich, known around Rocky Delgadillo’s office as “the Nooch,” suddenly discovers conflict-of-interest rules and, out of good conscience, refuses to get Trojans out of their legal jams.

9. O.J. Simpson will take a break from looking for the “real” killers, and have time to give his old team some advice.

LA Weekly