Lane Kiffin: UCLA is always the most-challenging game
Posted by: Chris Vannini on November 15, 2012
Lane Kiffin is 2-0 against UCLA as USC's head coach, including a 50-0 home win last season.
With the likes of Oregon and Stanford on the schedule during his tenure, the Kiffin says the crosstown rivalry is the hardest to prepare for because of the familiarity within and between the programs.
"This is always the most-challenging game on our schedule because of that, because of all the relationships," he said. "The families know each others, the kids have known each other; this is always the hardest week.
"A lot harder than next week. ... The one benefit would be you don't have to worry about either team being excited for the game, players (not being motivated) and coming out flat. That's never the case."
Many people like to question how much one game in the rivalry effects recruiting. Given most 2013 prospects have already verbally committed, and even 2014 players have been recruited for some time, Kiffin doesn't put much stock into that idea.
"I don't think it has a major impact," he said. "We always get asked that every year. I think it just goes into whatever the formula a kid has making a decision. It's a small thing in there. There's so many other things, that one game doesn't matter.
"Just like when teams are having a rough season or a great season, they don't all of a sudden sign all the players because you're winning all the games. A lot of times, when a team struggles ... kids see they have more of a need for them."
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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org