If you have stayed away from newspapers, television, radio and the internets for last 48 hours (which I totally understand if you bleed Bruin blue and gold) welcome back. If you haven't seen the video of those moments here is another look:
We will post this video a lot in the next 369 days. I have replayed them over and over and over already. I think that replay will continue in a loop in our collective conscious for rest of our lives. After two days I am still having a hard time to wrap the game up in terms of the football angle of it. Thanks to some here who are making a great effort on that front because I think we should appreciate the incredible effort our guys put forth on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, on the offensive side despite some of the valid questions regarding personnel use (as I said I am still not in the frame of mind on writing about it), I think the coaches did have an efficient game plan in place which not only had us in the game but also would have put us in position to win if not for couple of huge individual mistakes.
Still, right now my emotions are still wrapped around what took place in those last two or three minutes. I find it pretty amusing how the lapdogs in the traditional media (and a handful of so called Bruin fans afflicted with Stockholm syndrome) are out there buying the TrOJan spin of equating the TO call with throwing the play action bomb and the ensuing wild celebration and taunts after it.
Let's zero in on the time out call. What exactly was wrong with it? IIRC at that point CRN had all 3 of his time outs left with just about 1 min remaining in the game. If he had just 1 TO left, I agree that it would have looked pretty silly for him to take it. No he had all 3 of them and in terms of strict football sense there was nothing egregious about him making a last ditch attempt to stay in the game. If you have followed football (at both professional and college level over the years), you will remember "the Miracle at Meadowlands":
The Miracle at the Meadowlands is the term used by sportscasters and Philadelphia Eagles fans for a fumble recovery by cornerback Herman Edwards that he returned for a touchdown at the end of a November 19, 1978 NFL game against the New York Giants in Giants Stadium. It was seen as miraculous because it occurred at a point in the game when the Giants were easily capable of running out the game's final seconds. The Giants had the ball, and the Eagles had no timeouts left. Everyone watching expected quarterback Joe Pisarcik to take one more snap and kneel with the ball, thus running out the clock and preserving a 17-12 Giant upset. Instead, he attempted to hand it off to fullback Larry Csonka and botched it, allowing Edwards to pick up the ball and run 26 yards for the winning score.
Here is the video for those who never saw the play:
Look, I get that the chances of something out of the world, crazy play like that happening was lower than Jim Carrey's chances of hooking up with Lauren Holley in Dumb and Dumber. Then again those of us who have been following the Bruins should also know the names like Lavelle Woods and Kushanti Abdul Salam and remember what can happen in this game.
In other words, there wasn't really anything controversial about Rick Neuheisel taking 1 of his 3 time outs just to see what could happen. Of course, if you look at the video posted at top, Petey and his OC then dialed up the long bomb. As upset as I am about that play, I would have willing to let that go as well. It was up to our defense to be prepared for it (we more than any other program should be familiar with Chetey Petey's MO by now) and we slipped.
Yet, letting the touchdown play go, it's what took place after wards that matter to all of us here on BN. And, there is no moral equivalency between taking a timeout in a desperate attempt fight till the last minute with the wild celebration that followed the TD. There is none and for anyone who attempts to morally equate the two are either a Trojan apologist or has some other agenda against Rick Neuheisel and/or UCLA.
As for Chetey Petey, he is the face of Southern Cal. He is their leader. No one cares about the President or the Athletic Director of that "University." He is their real ambassador and he represents what their program is all about. What took place after that touchdown all along the Trojan sidelines and the Colosseum stands, under Chetey Petey's leadership tells us all we need to know about Southern Cal. You can definitely see the water boys and equipment managers jumping and down and you can see their entire section going delirious, approving the taunts and crazy "celebration" following that bomb. Although not in the video posted above, you could hear them thundering down with "We Are SC" when the clock was ticking down.
I will bring in a personal note here to make a point about karma in the sports world. I have put up a lot of posts and comments here on BN over the years. I know that no one can always get everything right. It happens. I generally never had any regret about what I write though except there is one post that has bothered me over the years. A LOT. I figured this would be the perfect time to share it. It was a post I put up following 13-9 three years ago on BN. I don't have the exact excerpt of it any more but I can tell you it wasn't pretty. It was laced with F bombs directed at the Trojans in which I essentially told them to jump off the Santa Monica Pier or something along that line. I let my emotion get the better of me that night and the following days by keeping it up. Yeah, I had few cold ones when I had put up that post but it didn't make it right. It was wrong and I apologize to everyone (including Trojans) for putting up that nonsense. It's pretty clear at least to me that the Sports Gods overseeing karma have had their way of paying me back since then.
I just wonder though if Peter Carroll, his entire staff, all of his players, and the entire stadium belting out "We Are SC" will feel the same way one day. I am not going to hold my breath because well as Blue Me articulated eloquently this weekend they are who they are.
What took place in those closing mins shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has followed UCLA and bled Bruin and Gold for decades. Just like BM, I am not capable of disliking them with any extra intensity. It is not possible. I just hope those moments will crystallize to thousands of students, alums and fans out there who might be looking at the "relationship" between these two programs in a slightly different prism in last 48 hours. I'd urge all of them to hold on to that intensity and take cues from the following five words from CRN:
"I don’t forget very much."
Play the video and listen to "We Are SC."