A pair of Pac-10 favorites tip off Sunday night in a crosstown clash. This is each team’s only conference game of the week, and USC (10-4, 1-1) is unbeaten at home this season (8-0) and actually features the better rebounding and defensive team in this contests despite UCLA’s usual strength in those areas. #7 UCLA (12-2, 2-0) leads the Pac-10 in scoring margin (+19) through all games and swept the two bottom Pac-10 teams on the road last weekend, but this should be another lower-scoring defensive battle.
Happy New Year! The first day of 2009 offers up some intriguing matchups on the gridiron, but given the recent phenomena of spreading out bowl games over an entire month New Year's Day can seem a bit barren to some. Bragging rights for conferences are on the line as well, most notably in a couple of matchups between the Big Ten and SEC along with a traditional showdown in Pasadena. The league/team with the most to lose: Virginia Tech, champions of the ACC.
The Story: USC's Leonard Washington hit Oklahoma Blake Griffin below the belt (video) in the second half of last night's game. Preseason All-American Griffin hit the floor immediately. It appeared as if Washington gave an elbow to the gut and/or a punch to the groin. The referees called a foul and reviewed the play. Upon review, Washington was assessed with a flagrant foul and was ejected from the game. Griffin, still shaken up, missed the two free throws and went to the bench to gain a second wind.
Today's BIG PICTURE