T.J. SIMERS

No question the Rose Bowl is Jim Mora's house now

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But Mora does, and maybe a penalty flag thrown on Franklin helping to get his attention, but the moment is not going to get away from him.

He finds Franklin, who is already apologizing. Mora says later he loves the kid and this is not the kind of kid to do such a thing.

"It's not him but the emotion of the moment," says Mora, who makes it clear that it's also a "teaching moment."

This is how championship teams are built.

But with great success comes an even bigger animal to tame: expectations.

"Give me a break, will ya," jokes Mora before agreeing it's the next logical hurdle to overcome.

Lose a game now and the Bruins' faithful will be let down, and there is nothing uglier in this world than let-down UCLA or USC fans.

Unfortunately, the same can also be said at times for winning UCLA and USC fans.

Now, as good a year as this has already been, there is still an outside chance of the Bruins earning Rose Bowl consideration.

That's pretty heady stuff for a group dismissed as a good high school team to start the season, but then have you seen the development of quarterback Brett Hundley?

He was the best quarterback on the field, and the other one began the season as a favorite to win the Heisman.

No question, the UCLA party might be just getting started.

"They're in there right now doing something like a dance-off. I've never seen that in the NFL," says Mora. "I didn't want to leave.

"But it's one game. Until we can string some together, do it over and over again, then it will have significance for me. Don't get me wrong, this has significance, but I mean real significance."

UCLA fans will love that kind of talk, and long live the king.

But while Mora dodges the monopoly question, he's reminded that a win over USC is not routine.

"It is to me," says Mora.

I tell him I can see the T-shirts now being printed: "1-0," a nice UCLA rebuttal to last year's "50-0" T-shirts.

But I want to know why he's not doing handstands, UCLA coming so far and Mora remaining so low-key.

"It's a great moment, and I'm excited," he concedes. "I can't wait to go hug my mom, shake my dad's hand, kiss my kids and go back in there and be with the fellas.

"But I don't know what to say. I'm not crying. I don't have goose bumps. My hair is not standing up on the back of my head right now. It was. Yes, it was. When I stood in the locker room being with all those young men and saw the emotion that they were sharing, it was very special."

But that's so yesterday by the time Mora starts talking about the game. This is a stirring win over USC!

"Now I don't want to minimize it at all," he says. "This is very special day. I'm excited as can be. But I also believe as the head football coach it's important to keep an even keel as much as possible."

I remind him, "even keel kills a column," and he says, "sorry about that — especially since it's your column."

And I wonder, is this another one of his teaching moments?

t.j.simers@latimes.com
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