Oh yes, we've reached the end of Wednesday, so we're more than halfway to the weekend and UCLA's battle against #6 Stanford at the Farm. A lot of people want to throw in the towel against undefeated Stanford, the odds-on favorite to win not just the Pac-12 North, but the conference, and to take a serious shot in the national title picture. After all, we're somewhere between 21 to 22.5 point underdogs.
Well, not at Bruins Nation. After seeing UCLA come out flat against SJSU, get steam-rolled by the Longhorns, and squeak out a win against a flaccid Oregon State team that lost to Div. I-AA Sacramento State, most folks don't see any room for optimism. Two thoughts: first, people thought the exact same thing on December 1, 2006. Then 13-9 happened. Second, and more importantly, this team has the talent to play with Stanford. By recruiting top-tier talent the last three years, if Rick does get the axe this year, he'll at least leave Westwood having re-stocked the roster with talent after Dorrell left UCLA in dire straits. Rick has the horses to give Stanford a run, but it will 100% depend on whether he's willing to open the playbook and play to win, rather than falling into the standard Morgan Center-esque conservative, weak-willing, play-not-to-lose game-plan.
So yeah, I'm excited for Saturday. Let's turn to your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse to keep you busy between now and the weekend:
- Let's start with some basketball news. Paul Feinberg of UCLA Magazine sat down with one of my favorite UCLA basketball players of all time, the Prince, hero of the Gonzaga game, half of the Cameroonian wonder-duo, the awesomely named Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (HT Nestor). In a good little piece, LRMAM discussed coming back to Westwood for his degree, why he had to take the chance to jump to the NBA, how UCLA is the best university in the world, and how he is getting back into the swing of being a UCLA student again. Very cool.
- Also returning to campus is Chris Jeon, the UCLA student that got international headlines for joining up with rebel fighters in Libya as they wage a war against the repressive Gadhafi regime. Some called Jeon awesome for fighting with a real liberation movement; others said he was an idiot for wandering into a war zone just for kicks. In any event, the UCLA senior discussed his time in Libya, with summaries from the New York Daily News and the Huffington Post. Although Jeon did break the news that apparently Justin Bieber is loved by Libyan freedom fighters. Soldiers everywhere are totally facepalming that image.
- As noted earlier (HT Westwood Wizard), UCLA alum and Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay has donated $100,000 to the School of Theater Film and Television to fund scholarships for undergrad and graduate students. Pretty awesome donation and always great to see high-profile Bruins giving back to the university. Plus, it's just another reason to watch L&O: SVU.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for the middle of the week. Fire away with your thoughts, comments, and additions in the thread, and we'll see you on Saturday.