Rick Neuheisel lifts crowd at Pauley

UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel took center stage during halftime of Saturday’s basketball game against crosstown rival USC.

But he wasn't there to talk hoops.

Accompanied by a large group of football players and the EagleBank Bowl trophy, Neuheisel stood at center court and lifted a crowd that had just seen the Bruins fall behind 33-21 at halftime.

“If you pay any kind of attention to what’s going on in college football this last week,” Neuheisel said before he was interrupted by a loud applause, “you can see the landscape has slightly shifted.”

Then Neuheisel welcomed new USC coach Lane Kiffin to Los Angeles, which drew some boos from the crowd.

“We have competed with him before and we look forward to competing with him and his program again,” Neuheisel said before another loud ovation broke out.

If that wasn’t enough, Neuheisel then made a number of bold promises.

“Make no mistake, we are not going to rest until we bring back the Pac-10 championship, the Rose Bowl championship and the national championship,” he said.

Neuheisel capped off his short speech with chants of “U-C, L-A” as he yelled the first two letters and waited for the crowd’s response.

“I can’t hear you,” Neuheisel yelled.

The second-year coach walked off the court to a standing ovation that perhaps made people forget that Ben Howland's Bruins were clearly being outplayed by USC at Pauley Pavilion.