That's it. Last night has done it. I'm a broken man. My spirit has completely, finally been crushed.
I can accept the occasional down season. Nobody's immune from it in college football.
And from an objective standpoint, the last 13 years of UCLA football--since the 20-game winning streak--have been a heaping bowlful of 'meh'. Lots of 6-6, 7-6 seasons, a couple of 8-5 years, a 10-win season, too many 4-win seasons for my taste. Over that time UCLA starting QBs have lost almost 7 full seasons to injury. And, of course, the ascendency of USC has made everything look worse by contrast, but every rivalry has periods of one-sided dominance. OK, it happens. I get it.
But what I cannot take any more are the incidents that make us into a national laughingstock. These happen only when the country is actually paying attention to us. And these happen on a regular basis. And they don't seem to happen to any other program! WHY???Of course, we all know when the downward trajectory began. December 5, 1998. One game away from playing in the very first BCS championship game, and our defensive line fails to board the plane at LAX.
Our QB, Cade McNown, is rightly idolized around these parts, and Miami wasn't his fault. But faithful UCLA fans might be surprised to hear that he is LOATHED in Chicago. Two years after he went to the Bears as the #12 overall draft pick, he was traded for a 7th-round pick. In other words, he was a complete bust. Plus, he stole Tim Couch's girlfriend. One day in 2005, long after he'd retired, a radio announcer here in San Francisco (who follows the Bears) claimed that the general belief was that McNown was 'the most despicable personality in Bears history'. I remember that vividly, because it was apropos of nothing--McNown hadn't been in the news for a long time, and it wasn't even football season.
About that same time, there was the handicapped parking scandal. We become fodder for Jay Leno's monologue. Read that again. Jay Leno was mocking us. Fortunately, all of Leno's audience had fallen asleep after their 4pm dinner.
After the turn of the century, the hits kept coming. Deshaun Foster could probably have won the 2001 Heisman, but he got suspended for his SUV. That year, we lost to USC 27-0, which UCLA alum and then-ESPN columnist Brian Murphy called a subhuman performance of such profound gutlessness, you wind up staring at the bottom of a pint of a Guinness ... and calling for another.
Of course, all of this is happening against the backdrop of USC's rise. To recap, we're 1-11 in the last 12 years against them. Last year was an improvement, in that we scored 2 offensive TD's against them for the first time since 2004.
Other Pac-12 teams have gleefully taken their shots at us, too. Cal's rise, in particular, is a perpetual ski-boot to my testicles, not just because I live in the Bay Area; they've done it with players who couldn't get in to UCLA. Oregon doesn't concern me so much as amuse me; if they weren't winning, their sugar daddy, all of their uniforms, and their hick fans would be seen as a complete joke. Stanford doesn't worry me as a long-term threat, because they cannot maintain their status with such high academic standards. But if they win a Heisman and national championship before we do, it will suggest to me that perhaps the universe is an unfair place.
But Arizona . . . good lord. They, like us, are just supposed to be a basketball school. Remember 2005? The last time we were in the top 10? We went to Arizona and lost , 52-14. We set a record for the worst loss ever by a top-10 team to an unranked team. Then there was last night, which I must remind you was on national television.
I keep thinking I'm forgetting something. But let me sum up. The last 12 years have not just been mediocre on the field; they have consisted of UCLA football fans getting served heaping piles of shit sandwiches in front of the entire country. I'm beyond frustrated; I'm despairing. It's like there's a black cloud over our program that won't be solved by firing CRN, his coaching staff, ADDG, the chancellor, and everyone else even tangentially related to our program. When will our suffering end? When will we catch a break?