Something to make us all smile, hope, and keep believing. This was emailed to us by a loyal reader, and being posted with the original writer, a Bruin alum who goes by the handle "SoccerBoy" in BRO Forums. FWIW I agree with every word in this post. GO BRUINS. -N
One of the more unfortunate aspects of sports fandom, is that when things keep going down the toilet, it becomes easier and easier to lower one's expectations--a slippery slope of apathy. Who wants to be disappointed, again and again? Who needs that? It's simpler to expect less, feel a little less jilted, a little more knowing (read: cynical), and let our collective hopes fade.
Exhibit A: UCLA football.
There have been a fair number of posts lately about the Bruins not being capable of being in college football's elite, why would a good coach want to come here, how attractive is this job, do many people want to work in LA, etc.
I get it. Don't even disagree with it, necessarily.
But sometimes it feels like we think San Diego State, or Idaho, or something.
This is UCLA.
Here are some reminders about Bruin football in the past 25 years--and these are meant to inspire us, because these aren't hopes or dreams, or unrealized potential, but facts.
--Was minutes away (actually a blown call away) from playing in the Natl Championship game in 98
--Won 20 straight games, incl. two straight Pac-10 titles, in two years (97 & 98)
--Won 3 Rose Bowls in 4 years in the mid-80's and flat-out dominated the Big 10 champs in two of them.
--Beat our archrival EIGHT straight years
--Had the #1 pick in the NFL draft (Aikman), the #2 pick in the NFL draft (Eric Turner), I believe the #3 pick (Ogden), and multiple other 1st rounders (Gaston Green, Jamir Miller, Cade, Marcedes, Robert Thomas), and a ton of 1st-day picks (Flipper, Mo Drew, Carnell Lake, etc).
--Was undeafeated and ranked in the top 5 of the BCS poll midway through the 2001 season
--Was undefeated and ranked in the top 10 late in the year in 2005
--In 2000, not even a good season for us, we opened the year with BACK-to-BACK defeats of the then #3-ranked team in the country (Michigan and Alabama)--and frankly they weren't really upsets, or at least not big ones. This is one of my favorite factoids that is overlooked.
--In the past 10 years, we've beaten Texas twice, Oklahoma, Michigan, Bama twice, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and will hopefully add Notre Dame to that list this year.
It's easy to focus on all of the myriad things that have gone wrong with UCLA football, with the unfulfilled potential, and the disappointments--esp. from Bob T's latter years, and most of the KD era.
But to quote Coach Toledo, when asked if he was surprised we wore down and defeated Michigan back in 2000, "Hey, this is UCLA." Nuff said.
We worry if this up-and-coming OC, or that dynamic mid-level coach, would want this job.
Are you kidding me? They should.
If bright young coaches with a clue are making places like Rutgers, Cincinnati, West Virginia and South Florida relevant--places that can only dream of having our football heritage, our potential and our recruiting base--what could one of them do in Westwood?
We have a lot of history--far less than we should, without a doubt--but this is not Oregon State, or Colorado State, or Vanderbilt or some place like that. This is UCLA. We absolutely could and should be a powerhouse, and I don't care how much we fans have had to settle for mediocrity in the past, we don't have to continually adjust our sights to an ever lower horizon, like some limbo bar of mediocrity.
It's time for a change, I have little doubt.
But let's not delude ourselves that we can NEVER be what UCLA should be.
It will start with DG. There are huge indications (Howland, Savage) that he is a smart, passionate guy with a clue.
As fans/alums, we can put the pressure on him--but trust him, too--to help bring about the changes needed.
And let's not stop hoping. It's what makes this whole thing fun, after all.