I feel stupid for falling for all that "Passion Bucket" crap. I couldn't help from drinking from that bucket after the suffering I went through the Toledo and Dorrell years. I remember when UCLA had All Americans, win Pac 10 titles, go to the Rose Bowl and yes, even have a shot at a National Championship. After witnessing the deterioration of the progam, I was vulnerable, hungry and the perfect person to take advantage of.
CRN comes along in what appeared at the time to be the darkest era of UCLA Football. The former walk-on turned Rose Bowl MVP. Someone whom I believed had the gonads to go head to head with Cheatey Petey across town. Afterall, this is a guy that beat the almighty NCAA. Someone who I believed could maneuver the alternate universe that is UCLA Athletics. Someone who could rally former players, go head to head for the top recruits in cali and return UCLA Football to what I believed was its rightful place among the best programs in the nation.
Boy was I wrong....wrong in so many ways. Ladies and gentlemen, we're in a darker period than we were during the KD years. Besides his clueless coaching, KD didn't the talent to compete which was his own doing. However, CRN has zero excuse for the clusterf**k that is UCLA Football.
You know those Pyramid Schemes we seem to read about? Generally, they prey on greedy or desperate people promising riches. They prey on your desires and vulnerabilities. They give you hope because that is exactly what you want and they know this. They promise results yet at the end, you end up grasping at thin air. Everything you invested (money and hope) are destroeyd and you're left with nothing. Absolutely nothing.
At the time, CRN kept together a highly recruited recruiting class. The kind of class that I was accustomed to but eluded us during the KD years. CRN then beat a highly ranked Tennessee team at the Rose Bowl with a JC transfer QB after having the top 2 QB's go down due to injuries. That season was tough to watch but I believed that this was the beginning of restoring UCLA Football. CRN needed to do re-build the foundation of UCLA Football his way and upon doing so, we'd be back in the national conversation. CRN then led us to a lower tier bowl victory with a young and inexperienced team. CRN added another top rated recruiting class.
Last year, the team regressed in terms of wins and losses. Internally, I made up plenty of excuses for CRN. Too many injuries, Base D Bullough, Chow's lovefest with KP, etc. Some were legitimate, some not so.
I'm sure many of you were looking at this year as the year that we make the jump to contend for the Pac 12 title as well as return to the national conversation. This was the year that talent and experience would mesh for us to make the jump. Yet, even with all this talent on the roster, we're no better off than we were before CRN took over.
For all his failings as a HC, I think he is a hellavu salesman. The kind that can sell ice to eskimos. CRN made statements that UCLA would be attending black tie events, going to Rose Bowls, etc. He used the media to create and use to his advantage the "Passion Bucket". He utilized the UCLA Media with his post game comments at Austin yelling: "They're dieing for this". He used his top notch recruiting classes, coaching changes, etc. to give me hope but in essence was only buying himself more time to collect a paycheck.
Does this Pyramid Scheme of CRN look legitimate to you? Real investment firms have a plan/goal, identifies how they want to achieve it and use the resources available to them to achieve that goal. I'm not exactly sure what CRN's goal is besides padding his bank account.
Harbaugh took a program in worse shape than we were and has built a program that will sustain itself unless you hire an idiot. Mario Cristobal at Florida International is building something after only competing in the FBS as of 2005. There is zero excuse why CRN should not have build a program with some type of identity in year 4 of his tenure.
I feel beyond stupid for falling for this Con Artist. I can only imagine what the players must feel after hearing him promise them sucess and glory in their parent's living rooms. Promises to develop and maximize their talents if they come to UCLA.
It's time this Passion Bucket Pyramid Scheme is put to an end.