The fourth and final meeting of the Pasadena Quarterbacks Club on Friday will debate the Trojans and Bruins seasons.
Coach Harvey Hyde will referee the debate between Los Angeles Times beatwriters Ben Bolch (for UCLA) and Ryan Kartje (for USC), who will provide insights as they follow the teams in this highly anticipated rivalry game.
“Usually they give us their thoughts on the season, where the teams are. They try to shy away from making a prediction on the game,” Craig Franzen, President of the Pasadena Quarterbacks, said of what they expect to hear from both writers when they appear at Friday’s meeting. “But they’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, whether it’s passing offense or defense in some way, or special teams or whatever. Typically they do share some stories you know, about the season that may have been entertaining etcetera. It’s just more fun for the members to get excited about the game that’s on the following day.”
This fourth and final meeting of the season has been traditionally called The Rivalry Meeting since it has incisively dissected the prospects in such an important season game over the years.
No. 7 USC and No. 16 UCLA meet this Saturday in a prime-time Pac-12 matchup at the Rose Bowl for the 92nd version of what’s seen as the nation’s most famous crosstown rivalry. At stake are bragging rights, the Victory Bell and Crosstown Cup points. Both teams will wear their home jerseys. The match will be shown live nationwide on Fox. Kick-off is at 5 p.m.
UCLA has won just six of the last 23 meetings in the series with USC, but the Trojans were victorious the last time the game was in Pasadena. The Trojans have won just 48 percent of the time when both USC and UCLA have been nationally ranked.
Ben Bolch has been writing for the LA Times since 1999. He is serving his second stint as the UCLA beat writer; he’s also the author of the recently released book “100 Things UCLA Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.” He previously covered UCLA basketball from 2010-11 before going on to cover the NBA and the Clippers for five years. He covered UCLA basketball and football in the summer of 2016.
Ryan Kartje is the USC beat writer at the Los Angeles Times, which he joined after a stint with the Southern California News Group covering everything from Vin Scully’s retirement to LaVar Ball’s rise to the NFL’s rebirth in L.A. His features work has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, as well as several other regional press groups. A Michigan native and University of Michigan graduate, Kartje previously wrote for Fox Sports Wisconsin and the Bloomington, Indiana Herald-Times.
In their latest posts about the game’s prospects, Bolch wrote “(Dorian) Thompson-Robinson isn’t going to end his college career with two consecutive home losses. He’ll hurdle Traveler if he has to on the way to engineering another storybook UCLA victory in the rivalry. Bruins win, 52-48.”
Kartje wrote: “I just don’t see the Trojans’ defense slowing down Zach Charbonnet or forcing enough mistakes out of Dorian Thompson-Robinson. These two teams are about as evenly matched as they come, and the first team to force the other to punt a second time may very well win it. Give me UCLA in a barnburner, 48-42.”
This will be the Pasadena Quarterbacks’ last meeting of the season which the organization has devoted to supporting the rise of instances of athletes’ mental health. Franzen also shared his forecast of the upcoming USC-UCLA game.
“USC’s strengths really lie in their quarterback who is very creative and elusive. Both teams have very experienced offensive lines,” he said. “UCLA has a very mobile and running quarterback, which will potentially present a little bit of a challenge for USC’s defense, which isn’t the strongest in the nation. But they’ve also got a great running back. USC unfortunately lost its starting running back in the last game, so it’s kind of unknown how that will affect this game in the Rose Bowl. And you never know what’s going to happen on a rivalry game.”
Friday’s debate begins at 11 a.m. at the University Club of Pasadena, at 175 N. Oakland Ave.
For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/pasadena-quarterbacks-rivalry-meeting-tickets-458551378517.