These two teams have "had their Dizzneyland moments"
over the years:
1980- An undefeated #2 UCLA heading for a #1 ranking at halftime @ AZ (with the announceed upset of #1 Alabama) does the Donahue Dixie Cup blowing the halftime lead and getting dry gulched by Larry Smith's desert rats 17-23;
(UCLA was on probation that season but was still eligible for the AP national championship until this loss).
1983 - Smith's boys upset UCLA at AZ again 24-27, this time its the Rose Bowl bound team quarterbacked by Rick Neuheisel, breaking UCLA's 5 game winning streak.
1985 - Donahue's Heavily favored #8 UCLA blows the Rose Bowl berth again, falling to a chuckhole horrible Ted Tollner suck team 13-17 ......or does it? Later that night Larry Smith's AZ team upsets Arizona State, "backing" UCLA into the Rose Bowl. (Suck, anxious to dump of Tollner, starts eyeballing this guy Smith)...
1988 - Number 1 ranked UCLA with Troy Aikman--surprise -WINS-at Arizona - 24-3 - The rabid students have to eat their "Ache-Man" signs (Donahue, never one to linger with good fortune, blows it all, NC, Heisman, the next week at home..that WSU game..yeah)
1994 - Former towel-boy Pete Dalis blocks the admission of
spectacular DB recruit Chris McAlister, son of UCLA All-American James McAlister and a Bruin Blue Bleeder, because his SAT score improved "too much" on second taking for Dalis' liking. "Take it again," demanded Dalis. The insulted McAlisters told Dalis to take it up the arse, and Chris goes to AZ, where in 1996 he runs back a kick-off 100 yards to help defeat UCLA, clinching a losing season for Bob Toledo 5-6.
[A Side note that will forever haunt UCLA fans: McAlister was an All American DB for AZ in 1998. If McAlister
had been admitted to UCLA as he deserved, how much better
might have the maligned UCLA defense been in the Miami NC game decider ?)
1998 - During the UCLA/Miami make-up game, there's a cut away to remote TV cameras trained on a group of happy AZ football players overflowing a reception room decked out with balloons, watching and waiting for UCLA to beat Miami so AZ can experience the school's first trip to the Rose Bowl in its history, "backing in" as UCLA elevates to the NC game..alas....the last shot of the day after Melsby and UCLA loses...the empty AZ "Rose Bowl Celebration" room w/ its forlorn balloons twisting in the wind...
2003 (Take Special Note of this one, Bruin Fans)
The Week of this game, AZ fires Head Coach John Makovic.
Assistant coach Mike Hankwitz is named interim coach taking over this team in shambles as Karl Dorrell's Bruins come to town. The tired old sawhorse Hankowitz nearly cuts Dorrell's meat and feeds him his lunch, completely outcoaching him for the first half, UCLA barely prevailing over the tattered, undermanned Zoners, 24-21.
2005 - Dorrell comes rolling into AZ with an improbable unbeaten 8-0 record, with several of those wins last minute off the canvas OT miracles where the team was forced to throw out his horrible game plans...Dorrell is exposed again
as the worst team in the conference and its rabid crowd destroy Dorrell's fraud aura of invincibility 14-52...
And UCLA has not won at AZ since the 2003 Hankowitz experience.
I quizzed a friend, an AZ alumni, well, actually he dropped out, why the crowd there seems to get in such an perfervid bone crunching froth about UCLA visits. He said,
"a lot of AZ students are from Southern California, who were rejected by UCLA..."
This one's hard to pick..This weakAZZ team, despite all its blemishes has just the kind of quarterback that flourishes with UCLA's sofa cushion defense...and UCLA does seem to specialize in making the seasons of near winless teams...will AZ make it "book-ends"? Or will Neuk prevail with his bye week trick play, the Offensive Tackle Eligible Pass Option?