Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/22/12
LOS ANGELES - Although the result wasnt the one they were looking for, USC didnt have any problem getting up for UCLA. The buildup contributes to that. They dont have Conquest every week on the USC campus, nor do they have a bonfire each week on the UCLA campus. Those traditions are saved for USC-UCLA rivalry week. Players from both sides of the crosstown rivalry know each other as well as their families. USC head coach Lane Kiffin said that aspect alone makes the UCLA game the toughest on the schedule. Not liking UCLA comes easy to Trojans, making it a natural rival. Realizing Notre Dame is a rival comes after some coaxing. This isnt your fathers rivalry. We try to work on that, Kiffin said of getting his players to realize the significance of the rivalry with Notre Dame. I dont think that thats natural to them. It is what it is. Its what we live in nowadays. Youre dealing with 17 to 21-year old kids and for whatever reason they dont come in here understanding that so were working on that. T.J. McDonald is one of the rare Trojans that came into the school knowing what the rivalry means and importance of it. For all that his father, Tim, accomplished as a Trojan, he never beat Notre Dame. Its still a big game for him as well as the other Trojan alums. This is a huge rivalry, T.J. said. He definitely has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to this rivalry. He just tells me its a big game all of the Trojan family is watching. Everybody wants to see how the Trojans are going to play, how theyre going to respond from last week and you just got to be able to go out there and make a statement. This generation grew up being surrounded by Trojan dominance over Notre Dame and will likely find it hard to believe the Irish actually hold a 43-35-5 advantage in the all-time series. The Notre Dame this group of players grew up watching is nothing like the No. 1 team that will stroll into the Coliseum on Saturday. This is the first time the Irish have held such a ranking since 1993. So, yes, when it comes to thinking about the Irish, viewing them as a top flight program wasnt really observed among this group of players. Im sure when these kids grew up with the eight straight (USC wins) so they werent watching the same type of games that 20 years ago kids were watching, Kiffin said. As he works on his players understanding the significance of the rivalry, the players, if nothing else realize who theyre going up against. The No. 1 team in the nation is coming into the Coliseum on Saturday. That needs no coaxing.
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