As I mentioned during the game thread, I was wondering what the BTB's on our players' shirt meant. Some folks thought it meant "Back to Basics" or something as simple as "Beat the Bears." Nope. Jon Gold has the answer:
"We burned the boats, man," said Jones, referring to the 'BTB' shirts that players wore on the sidelines, a motto that signifies no retreat. "It was a suicide mission we had."
Apparently, Rick and the players decided to do the full Hernan Cortes (read: use some lame motivational speaker's revision of history for profit). But I digress: I appreciate that sentiment from Jones and our players. I like the fact that our players are rallying in what is a desperate situation around them. However, the problem here is that we find ourselves in this kind of situation with a talented roster, mixed with veterans and up and coming youngsters. And ... please ... we are not going to argue about whether this team has talent. We have gone over that topic in post after post this off-season. Also, don't forget after getting his talent excuse debunked on BN, Neuheisel conceded that his football team has all the pieces for a winning program, saying that UCLA "do[esn't] need anything else from the outside."
Anyway, I (like most of my fellow BN frontpagers) don't like bringing up the name of our former basketball "coach." But this whole BTB deal reminds me of gimmicks from the hoops teams in Lavin's days when the team needed to do something year after year to get fired up after underachieving regular seasons.
Something like this would have been fun in year 1 or year 2 of a rebuilding program when coaches need to look at all possible options to fire up a team that may not have all the pieces in place. Right now, it's not comforting to see a talented team in a coach's fourth season having to put on special shirts to get fired up and win against an average to slightly above average opponent. In other words, beating Cal was expected and predicted before the season began. Beating Cal, at home in the Rose Bowl, who has new starters at both QB and HB, was part of our bare minimum expectations for Rick.
We shouldn't be quick to pat the team on the back for winning a game they were supposed to win. That'd be like telling the Lakers great job for beating the Warriors (and hey, I'm a Warriors' fan). Or congratulating the Yankees for beating the Royals. You get where I'm going with this. I mean, don't get me wrong: Tedford is a pretty good coach (he's the best Cal has had for more than half a century), but no one had Cal pegged as a serious threat in the Pac-12 this year. They're in the middle of a transition as they try to figure out who their QB of the future is, whereas UCLA was picked by a lot of folks to contend in the Pac-12 South this season. So this year, yeah, Cal is a team we should beat. When Kevin Craft was our starting QB and they had Longshore, yeah, they should beat us. You don't get a bonus for beating the teams you should beat.
I guess the silver lining here is that the team didn't quit, which would have been easy to do following the disaster in the desert, where it became clear that Rick is not the man to lead the Bruins anymore. That's something I guess, but it's not much in the big picture; not as long as Dan Guerrero still leads Morgan Center and its diseased culture of mediocrity.