Saturday, December 02, 2006

First, a disclosure: I received my undergraduate degree at UCLA, in 1984.

Going into this year's annual USC-UCLA football game, played earlier today, the rivalry over the past 15 years had been as streaky as is possible for a situation where both teams had enjoyed stretches of dominance.

1991 UCLA
1992 UCLA
1993 UCLA
1994 UCLA
1995 UCLA
1996 UCLA
1997 UCLA
1998 UCLA
1999 USC
2000 USC
2001 USC
2002 USC
2003 USC
2004 USC
2005 USC

With UCLA's eight straight wins, followed by USC's seven, we don't need a statistical test to tell us that the number of observed runs (uninterrupted streaks by one team) is the minimum possible -- two -- given that each team has won at least once.

USC was widely expected to beat UCLA today en route to the (mythical) national championship game, in the process tying UCLA's earlier eight-game winning streak in the Battle of Los Angeles.

But it wasn't to be. UCLA 13, USC 9.

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