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West coast challenge

Florida's last hope to surpass USC and sneak into the BCS title game (assuming, of course, a Gator victory over Arkansas in the SEC championship game) rests with big underdog UCLA today. A little something to take you beyond the X's and O's:

Coaching Connection

When UCLA's Pete Carroll was an NFL coach for the Patriots, he offered Karl Dorrell a job on his staff that Dorrell, then at Colorado, turned down because he didn't want to move his family. In three meetings since Dorrell became UCLA coach, the Trojans have won by a combined 142-65, including last season's 66-19 thumping that one former UCLA assistant, who requested anonymity, says reveals that Carroll holds a grudge. Dorrell said he does not believe any animosity exists: "He's never expressed anything to me about it."

Tyler the Trojan

Former UCLA star running back Wendell Tyler's response when the issue of his son comes up? "Oh, man."

Marc Tyler, one of the top high school running backs in the nation, will soon head for college - at USC.

Marc, wearing a USC sweatshirt and a USC cap, says: "I still like the UCLA basketball team."

If Wendell ever imagined his son in blue and gold, he never got pushy about it. Even now, he remains notably cautious discussing his old school.

Yes, coach Karl Dorrell is "a good person." No, he has not stayed close to the program.

It goes like this, he says: Any burning loyalty for his alma mater has been tempered by a more-recent devotion to Christianity. His life, he says, is "much bigger than hating someone from 'SC."

As for Marc, any thoughts of following in paternal footsteps had given way to watching the Trojans vie for national titles: "Being from California, everyone wants to go to 'SC."

Compiled by Times staff writer John Strickhouser using information from Cox News Service, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News.

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