So it is happening already. Read enough posts popping up on Bruin message boards and you will get that sense of certain Bruin fans (well more like Karl Dorrell loyalists) are lowering the expectations for this upcoming season.
The general argument of a number of die hard Dorrelly loyalists is basically that UCLA had a wonderful 10-2 season last year. Never mind that we got destroyed, humiliated, thumped by USC, and never mind that we choked in the biggest games that actually mattered, it was a tremendously gratifying season. Coach Karl should be off the hook this season because he won 10 games last season. Yes, apparently during his 4th season in Westwood, we should not expect Dorrell to win more than 7/8 games this season, and certainly not expect him to end the streak against USC.
Here is a recent post from Bruin Zone on a so called "consensus" among Bruin fans posting in the message boards:
Of course all of this nonsense. Here on BN we have been beating the drums of minimum expectations of 9 wins and victory over USC. The same surrender monkeys who don?t expect UCLA to beat SC (at our house) this season will no doubt make the pre-season excuses for Dorrell next year by saying that it will be too difficult for UCLA to beat SC next year because the game is at the Coliseum. The following year it will be something like Olson turning pro. In other words, the excuses will never end. These guys will always want to sing about next year.
So, why in the world are some of these Dorrell backers busting out the "next year" tune, sounding like Chicago Cubs fans even before the season has started?
Let's again take a look at the schedule of games we have lined up for the season.
You'd think every Bruin fan should expect our team to win football games in which are favored. And, we are going to get to play some awful football teams because of the number of doormat teams we have in our conference. Half of our schedule is made up of gimme games against Arizona, Wazzu, Oregon State, and Stanford at home, and Washington on the road. Those are 5 wins right there. Given the talent UCLA has on its roster, which despite Dorrell's lackluster recruiting in his first three years, is still the third-best in the Pac-10, there is absolutely no excuse for this team not to go 5-0 against those chump programs in the Pac-10. And if you tack on that joke game against Rice, that is 6-0 right there. And, given that a team like UCLA should never lose a game in its home opener against a team from the MWC, you can easily see how this team should be capable of winning 7 games in its schedule.
That gives Dorrell three games (Cal, ASU, and Oregon) to pick up at least one win (I will not even impose the expectations of asking us to win the game at ND), and put this team in the position to go into it's last game of the season with 8 wins, a fired up Bruin crowd, hungry to end the 7 game streak against a team which will most likely not be the invincible (juiced up?) team we played last season.
It is really amazing to see how so many Dorrell backers are ratcheting down expectations for this upcoming season by basically saying we should be happy with a 7 win season. Why should these so called Bruin fans be so intimidated by a program like ASU and Oregon? What have they really done last two years?
We were good enough to beat Oregon (basically without MJD) two years ago and we have been good enough to beat the Ducks even during those mediocre Toledo and Donahue years when we were expected to have so called "rebuilding seasons." We handled ASU last year. And if not for Larry "You Are Killing Me" Kerr's shitty bend-don't-break defense we were on our way to beating the Sun Devils in Tempe two years ago. Given the talent we have in our defense, there is just no reason we should go into these games intimidated even with a new QB.
It is just absolutely ridiculous to hear some of these Dorrell apologists waving the white flag in August of 2006, already bringing up the "next year" mantra even before the current one has been underway.
I mean look at the Cubs fans. Even these guys usually don't start singing their unofficial anthem before the start of new season:
What does it tell you about these so-called UCLA fans who are trying to lower expectations to take off some of the pressure on Karl Dorrell? It gives you the unmistakable impression that deep down they don't really believe last year's 10 win season was a leap towards the right direction. They don't really believe this team is making progress.
Otherwise, after three years of Dorrell they wouldn't waiving the white flag even before the first weekend of 2006, and start thinking about 2007.
Well, this lowering of expectations will not work. Given the schedule we have this season, if we don't meet the minimum expectations given the schedule of this season, no matter how much spinning Dorrell backers will do, they won't be able to hide the fact that this program is going nowhere, just like the ones of Lavin and Toledo.
This is it. This will be another watershed year where we are going to find out whether Dorrell can coach? After three years it is pretty clear he still doesn't have the answer.
And we are getting sick of the same ole song we have been hearing for last seven seasons.
It is time to put up or shut up.