It's Sunday afternoon, and hopefully, you've spent the weekend watching football teams that actually had real coaching and, more importantly, the support of an athletic department and university that actually care about having a successful program. Unless and until UCLA decides to dump Dan Guerrero and give Neuheisel the axe, Bruin football is going to continue as a mediocre embarrassment to our great alma mater.
I mean, does anyone else see the irony in this? UCLA does pretty much everything phenomenally. Academically, we're one of the top universities in the entire world (see here (#34), here (#2), here (#34), here (#13), and here (#13) . . . also note how much further below U$C is, and yet they talk so much). Athletically, we have more national championships than any other university, you know, "First to 100" and all of that. We are a national title contender in every sport we contend in every year (including men's basketball under Howland, except for the last few seasons), except for one: football.
We're in a BCS conference. We have a football program than dominated in the 1980s and 1990s. We produced countless players in the NFL, including some of the best the game has ever seen (read: Troy Aikman, Jonathan Ogden, Ken Norton Jr., etc.). UCLA sits in the second largest media market in the United States and is in the middle of a recruiting hot-bed. Even with U$C across town, there's so many elite prospects in Southern California that both programs should be able to stock up with top talent. In short, there's no excuse for why we suck at football. None. Zero.
Except, we have an athletic director who isn't a football guy, who came from a small-time sister UC school (Irvine) with no football program and nothing close to the level of excellence we expect at UCLA. He's bought into the diseased culture of mediocrity at Morgan Center, where people think doing things the "UCLA way" is the right way: that we can pay coaches with UCLA ties on the cheap and that we don't need to aggressively market our program because we're UCLA and the kids should just want to come here and that's that.
Make no mistake about it: UCLA will continue to be a joke unless and until we get serious about football. That means that Dan Guerrero must be fired or resign immediately and Rick Neuheisel must be fired or resign immediately.
Both guys are UCLA guys. They were good Bruins and they should be applauded for what they did in their time as UCLA student athletes. But they don't get it. Rick has become a conservative shell of his former self and if Thursday showed us anything, he has no control over this program, and there's nothing resembling "coaching" going on at Spaulding. Not when you lose to a 1-5 program with a guy coaching his first game ever as the boss. Dan used to play baseball for the Bruins, yet our baseball program, with one of the nation's best coaches, has broken-down decrepit facilities that are not even on par with other Pac-12 programs, let alone the college baseball powers in the SEC. When you look around at UCLA athletics, we succeed in spite of our athletic department and in spite of the diseased culture of mediocrity at Morgan Center.
When you look at UCLA athletics, it's clear that it's time for wholesale regime change, starting with Dan Guerrero.
It's been a long few days since our last edition of Bruin Bites. What's sad is that this is not even the first time that Bruin Bites had a special "Dan and Rick fail" edition. With those thoughts, let's turn to some other bits and pieces of news coming from around the UCLA-iverse after the jump:
- Starting with football news, with talk of the NFL moving a franchise to Los Angeles heating up, the Rose Bowl is evaluating having that new NFL team play their home games in Pasadena until the new stadium (either the downtown stadium plan, or the City of Industry plan with the stadium at the intersection of the 57 and the 60) is constructed. Meanwhile, the Coliseum is also evaluating the impact of an NFL team as they seek to have the new NFL team play their home games there pending the construction of the new stadium. I mean, really, Coliseum: you already have one professional team playing there, do you really need a second?
- Looking at our football program, it's gotten so bad that even casual college football fans are taking note. James Sheldon at Manolith wonders why UCLA sucks so bad at football, given all the natural recruiting advantages. Sheldon echos a lot of points we've been making at BN for some time, and sums it by failing to understand how it's possible that UCLA is consistently bad at football. Gee, Rick and Dan, when non-sports writers are picking up on this, don't you think it's a problem?
- Just in case you missed it, the L.A. Times has the video of this Thursday's referee impersonator/Arizona streaker and, for good measure, threw in a video of David Beckham (during the Paul Scholes testimonial game) tackling a kid who ran on to the field.
- Finally, in simulated football news, the guys at Operation Sports (better known for being the place you can download roster files for EA Sports games that have the college players named) put together their list of five down-and-out programs that are perfect for re-building a dynasty in EA Sports' NCAA Football 12. Even in virtual reality, they note that the Bruins, despite not being a winning program, have a lot of young talent. So, if even the video game developers at EA Sports notice all the young talent on the roster, why can't Rick seem to turn it into a consistent winner? Oh yeah, because we give "sure-handed" guys like Rosario and Embree reps instead of playmakers like Marvray and Shaq Evans. When video game programmers (read: nerds) know more about your football talent than your football head coach, someone needs to be fired (read: Dan and Rick). Facepalm.
- We've talked a lot about soccer manager turned football kicker Tyler Gonzalez, but the Daily Bruin profiled some of the other student managers for our football, basketball, and soccer programs. Kind of a neat read to see the world of these students who work behind the scenes. With how piss-poor our football team has played, maybe one of these guys can play QB? Or fair-catch punts?
- Turning to men's basketball, Ben Howland's squad will start the season ranked in the top 25, checking in at #20 in the first ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, unlike last year, where Howland's team was never able to crack the top 25 in a disappointing (by UCLA standards) rebound season.
- Also in basketball news, Fox Sports' Michael Martinez interviewed UCLA forward Reeves Nelson about how he is using yoga to improve his flexibility, get stronger for the upcoming season, improve his balance, and tighten his focus (which is something he definitely needs). Reeves joins a long list of athletes using yoga, including his teammates LJ and the Wear twins, as well as former Bruins JF, JS, KL, as well as Blake Griffin, our own Patrick Cantlay, and former tennis superstar Pete Sampras. Interesting, to say the least.
With that, those are your Bruin Bites for the end of this fall weekend free of the embarrassment of UCLA football. It's been a long decade of irrelevance for UCLA football and it's time for wholesale regime change. We'll check in tomorrow with all the news and results from our non-revenue programs. For now, fire away with your thoughts, comments, and additions in the comment thread.