High noon in the Rose Bowl

As the 2012 season winds down, Lane Kiffin has started hearing whispers about his job security. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- How appropriate it is to have Saturday's crosstown rivalry between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins kicking off at high noon in the Rose Bowl?

Considering the importance of the game, the late Gary Cooper -- star of the famous 1952 movie "High Noon" -- probably would have loved the kickoff time. And in case you're not familiar with Cooper's role in this classic western, it tells the story of a town sheriff, Will Kane, who is forced to face a gang of evildoers by his lonesome.

For the Trojans' Will Kane, coach Lane Kiffin, the evildoers in this weekend's gridiron version of "High Noon" are the surging UCLA Bruins under first-year coach Jim Mora Jr. While Kiffin will never really be confused with Cooper's protagonist, his prospects for the future could be immensely influenced by Saturday's outcome against the Bruins in Pasadena.