So the Longhorns are about 15 point favorite by odds makers heading into Saturday. They are feeling pretty confident. During last night's excellent podcast Peter Bean couldn't think of a scenario in which the Bruin offense could experience any kind of success against Will Muschamp's defense (and I think his response was well thought, reasonable, given the facts and stats we have been discussions all week).
BON is happily going over various issues related to Oklahoma and Nebraska (although they do that every week) with less than 72 hours to go in their match up against UCLA. You just can't fault the Longhorns for being confident because they have every right to be given the golden era they have been enjoying under Mack Brown. Still there are few folks in Vegas who are saying things like this:
"UCLA is a 15-point underdog at Texas," Colbert said. "I think that's way too high. I think Neuheisel will have UCLA ready to go in there and give Texas all they can handle. Texas hasn't looked good all year and I don't have much respect for Texas Tech. They are overrated. I expect them to keep it real close."
Perhaps it will be "close." Perhaps it will be yet another UCLA letdown under a second year starter as described in Monday's post. Perhaps the Bruins will pull of a miracle thanks to 200+ yards passing from Prince, a flawless offense with JetSki sprinting, Malcolm Jones pounding, the F-Backs gliding, wide receivers playmaking and the defense swarming all over Darrell Royal stadium. Hey, that's going to be the dream for all those Bruins living it up at Salt Licks and at the Cheer Shots Bar.
Yet what I fear most is Bruins losing in a frustrating, agonizing fashion (no matter what the ultimate score is) stumbling and bumbling through a number of familiar scenarios on national TV. So why don't we try something here. Let's get all of our negative thoughts, anxieties and frustrations about this year's football team (not withstanding Saturday's win) in one post - right here, right now - and see if we can just clear up our minds heading into Saturday. If don't want to think about the nightmares, STOP READING NOW. But ... if you want to get it all out of your system take a leap with me to the other (dark/cranky) side:
Here is what I am anticipating and picturing that will take place on Sat (that will be consistent not just with recent history but emblematic of UCLA football in general from last 2 decades even with second year starting QBs such as Tommy Maddox, Wayne Cook, Cade McNown and Drew Olson):
- Our offense will come out on first drive and get throttled in a 3 and out by Texas defense, sending the crowd at Darrell Royal stadium in a frenzy.
- Garrett Gilbert and the Texas Longhorn offense look like bunch of world beaters in their first two drives giving the young Texan gunslinger all the confidence he needs.
- Kevin Prince throws a long bomb along the sidelines aiming for either Taylor Embree and Nelson Rosario and neither of them stretching out to get it (a scenario we have seen a lot in first three games).
- On 3rd and 5 Prince throws a 3 yard pattern to a RB coming short of the first down chain.
- Taylor Embree, Morrell Pressley, and Cory Harkey will drop 4-5 sure passes.
- Randall Carroll will get in, look lost, and then promptly commit a personal foul.
- Kevin Prince will look ineffective for about 3 quarters. Richard Brehaut will then get in. Sling around few passes against a soft, relaxing Texas defense, but then get sacked or get drive throttled with silly penalties of his offense. Of course this will mean a whole another week of QB related posts on BN.
- Bruin defense will pin the Longhorns deep and force them to punt, only to see Taylor Embree return it for 5-10 yards well short of mid field.
- An illegal block in the back will negate a huge gain from Josh Smith during a return.
- What else? Illegal motion or false starts putting us in 3rd and long after nice gain by one of our running backs.
- On 3rd and long (over 12 yards) Chuck Bullough dials up a nickel package, asks defense to sit back and promptly allow the Longhorns to slice us up for a first down.
- Couple of personal fouls early in the game giving Texas momentum by extending their stalled drives.
- Texas RBs and WRs have their coming out party thanks to the "tackling" efforts of UCLA defense we have gotten accustomed to seeing during big games on national TV (Tennessee games last two seasons and the 13-9 being the stand out exceptions since December 5, 1998)
- Rick Neuheisel will decide to punt around Texas' 38-43 yard line after our offense gets stalled following a 4-7 play drive. The ensuing punt will be either results in a touch back or a long 12-14 play Longhorn drive ending up in TD against Bullough's base defense.
- After the game we will hear from Kevin Prince about the need to "fix" the "little things" and focusing on Pac-10 conference.
- All the trolls who have been missing since Saturday will come back here to flood the comment threads and tell us about how they can offer up their rants (without ever making the slightest effort to engage in constructive discussion in this community) because ... well .. they have been UCLA alum for 40 years!
Hey this is your chance to get it all out. Let it all out because we are all so use to seeing the same scenario play out over and over, and get our hearts and souls crushed as followers of this football program.
On Saturday night or later on Sunday, we can compare notes to see how many of the bullets above actually takes place on Saturday. If the Bruins can actually play a clean game and keep most of the things mentioned above, from happening, it will be a positive step forward no matter what happens on Saturday. Chances are we are going to see the same old story given the history of UCLA football. I really, really hope I am wrong and that everyone here floods the comment threads forcing down tasty crow down my throats.
So what else am I missing here? As I said, let's make this one thread where you can let it all out before we get ready for Saturday. Perhaps at the very least it will allow to clear our mind heading into game day. Consider this a pre-emptive negative mojo strike except sadly we have lived through the scenarios listed for years.