Bruins are not in any position to be a cocky team.
So last week the Longhorns were heading into a game week as 15 point favorites over our Bruins. If you have forgotten already, the Longhorn fans were feeling so confident about their matchup against UCLA that some of them were already looking forward to the Red River Shootout against Oklahoma and thinking about Nebraska. I will not even bother linking up Taylor Gasper from OrangeBloods.com at this point (you can read this morning's roundup).
Fast forward to same time this week and it appears number of UCLA fans for inexplicable reasons are acting the same way. People are talking about using this game to get our young guys some experience as if our regular guys are just too good to be in the same field with Washington State Cougars. This mindset is dumb founding considering as a program we have done NOTHING of relevance during this past decade. Yes, we get that the program is heading towards the right direction - finally - under CRN. We get that the memorable win against Texas has the potential to be a "signature win." However, pardon us for not feeling all that confident given our recent history especially involving Washington State.
Given our history and the health situation of Kevin Prince, this game has ugliness and a potential Bruin choke written all over it. So just like we did last week we are going to have another thread where we get all our negative thoughts and energies out of the way (while looking forward to a game against an opponent who deserves the same respect we gave to all of our previous four opponents).
So if you don't want to think about nightmares around a bumbling, fumbling, uninspired UCLA team putting together a horrid performance, then just like last week you need to STOP READING NOW and walk away. But if you want to partake in yet another cleansing exercise and get it all out of your system take a leap with us to the other (dark/cranky/dreary) side.
When you think about UCLA and Washington State and what exactly can go wrong for the Bruins you just have to watch this video:
That was my first full year as a diehard UCLA football fan. So again forgive yours truly for being a little reserved these days when it comes enjoying success around the team. Of course that's not the only time Wazzu has crushed our hearts.
Everyone talks about 1997 (although the similarities to this season early on is superficial). Even that year started with heart breaking loss against the Cougars. Also, the Cougars have beaten us 3 out of last 4 times at Pasadena which included ugly beat downs in 2002 (27-48) and 2006 (15-37).
Of course they were different teams in a more established program but the point is this: those guys always get fired up and play in a different level when they come down to the Rose Bowl. So can't help but picturing like some of the scenarios laid out below what could go wrong for those four letters on Saturday:
- Kevin Prince doesn't start because of a "game time" situation. Richard Brehaut goes on to look like Rob Walker during a 3-9 loss against Arizona State after Wayne Cook had to sit out due an injury to his ribs
- The first drive is just marred with penalties and dumb mistakes as Brehaut looks completely lost making one wrong read after another. It is all compounded by a dumb interception on our own side of the field, which the Cougars promptly capitalize on with a TD on a trick play.
- Sophomore Cougar QB Jeff Tuel builds on his encouraging performance against Southern Cal and has a "break out" game against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately for the Bruins lot of college players have had "break out" against the Bruin defense over the years.
- Bruin OL comes out looking a little soft (appearing to have read a little too much about "the filthy" five) and get outhustled, outmaneuvered and out physicaled by an inspired Cougar front-7
- Cougar defense gets some confidence based on their early lead and just starts flying around the Rose Bowl stymying our one dimensional offense.
- Bruins finally mount some kind of drive but the offense buckles in the red zone again. The Bruins settle for 49 yard field goal, which Kai hits wide right. The offense comes back with another drive but stalls around the Cougars 40 yard line. This time CRN decides to punt getting everyone frustrated and ticked off at the Rose Bowl.
- Darius Bell comes and runs around a bit but doesn't look any better or more effective than Brehaut.
- So Brehaut comes back in and finally gets couple of drives going against a Cougar defense in a prevent mode. The offense gets a TD pulling the Bruins with 4 points. The defense gets a stop giving the offense another shot with minute 40 seconds left in the game. Brehaut led offense gets a first down, but we eventually choke after he throws a TD essentially sealing the game.
What else can go wrong? What did I miss?
Of course this year's UCLA team could turn out to be different. They could prove themselves to be more mature and focused that previous Bruin teams even including one that was led by a HOF, Super Bowl champion QB as the number 1 team in the nation. I just hope our guys come out just has hungry like they were against Texas. If they don't prepare for Saturday with the same kind of respect for their opponent and same determination, it is going to be a long Saturday.
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.