Jet Ski: "Hey Morgan, good call bailing on me and my Bruins: I'm going to score a TD now, thanks!" - Harry How
The Bruins, under first-year head coach Jim Mora, came out on Saturday and punched the Southern Cal Trojans right in the mouth (and separated one pompous shoulder on an arrogant prick in the process), giving the Bruins control over the City of Angels for the first time in more than a decade of mediocrity under Chianti Dan's leadership at Morgan Center.
Kind of funny how quiet all of your Trojan friends have been the last 36 hours, isn't it? It's Monday and usually, that sucks, but for all of us, we'll be walking into work with a complete victory over the Trojans in our back pocket. For the first time in years, we won't have to endure pompous, arrogant douchebag Trojan grandstanding: no more endless ESPN clips of some arrogant douche Trojan QB leading their lame-ass band in playing their douchebag anthem after trouncing a hapless Bruin squad led by a former-Bruin-player-turned-clueless-coach.
Enter Jim Mora. Enter accountability, a no-nonsense, no-bullshit attitude, and a coaching staff that can assess and utilize talent, and the Bruins are back. This isn't the fluke that 13-9 was: a solid, but decidedly average UCLA team knocking the Southern Cal Trojans, probably the best team in the country, out of the national title game in the final weekend of the season. Nope, this was a complete victory, and if anything, the Bruins should be kicking themselves for not stepping on U$C's throats when they had the opportunity. Leading 24-0, the Bruins had the chance to pile on and turn Saturday's meeting into a complete beat-down. But UCLA led U$C back into the game, but despite literally fumbling the game away, the Bruins stayed composed, and kept going after the Trojans, and delivered the knock-out punch by way of the future Mayor of Los Angeles, Johnathan Franklin.
While any win over hated U$C is a cause for great celebration, now that our Bruins put the Trojans to the sword, we have to turn our focus away from our mediocre crosstown opponent, their smug jackass QB, and their herp-derp coaching staff, and turn to more important things: beating Stanford and setting ourselves up for a return to the Rose Bowl. Fortunately, Jim Mora isn't getting caught up in the hype: he's getting his team ready to take it to the Stanford Cardinal, with a victory over the #8-ranked Cardinal, not just a big indicator of how good this UCLA team really is, but with the potential to vault our Bruins into the BCS top fourteen, and BCS bowl qualification:
"I think this team's motivation is to win as many games as they can and go out and perform at a high level every Saturday and their motivation is to win every week," Mora said. "I don't think their motivation ever at any point this year was just to beat USC and just to win the Pac-12 South. That's not the sense I got from being around these guys."
You have to love this team. Beating Southern Cal wasn't enough: in the words of Jake Taylor, these guys want to win the whole f**king thing. This team has the makings of being something special. So, with that said, let's get to the bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse at the beginning of this work week following our huge win over the bastards from across town and leading to the big game against the Cardinal. Here's the Bruin Bites for this Monday morning:
- Southern Cal continues to be the gift that keeps on giving: Pat Haden gave our favorite Trojan coach, Lane Kiffin, his support to stay at the helm of the semi-professional team operating out of their third-rate glorified community college in 2013. Remember those years of watching Karl Dorrell stand on the sidelines looking like he had no clue? This is how it feels to be on the other side of that: it's pretty sweet, isn't it?
- How's the view from a Trojan perspective? Arash Markazi, a former writer for the Daily Trojan who we have had a love-hate relationship with on BN, gives props to Jim Mora and the Bruins, giving the Bruins a solid A mark in every category (passing attack, rushing offense, pass defense, special teams, coaching) but one, where he graded our rushing defense at a B. Make no mistake: the Bruins didn't play a bad game and steal a win - they earned it across the board.
- Remember how we've been emphasizing how important dropping the cheaters from Second Choice was? Well, our Bruins went out and drew Trojan blood and changed the perception of UCLA: these are not the "gutty little Bruins" but a bunch of hard-hitting, True Blue-collar, tough guys who want to chew you up and spit you out while winning. Turns out we were right about the recruiting angle: following the victory over Southern Cal, 2014 WR prospect Jeff Farrar from Upland became UCLA's first commit in his class. Likewise, per Greg Biggins' Twitter feed, 2013 WR prospect Darren Andrews from Bishop Amat jumped ship from Duke to UCLA following the Bruins' win on Saturday.
- Sticking with recruiting, 2014 LB prospect Dwight Williams from Serra felt that UCLA did a lot to get his commitment, saying that the Bruins played "amazing" and that "a lot of players are going to look that way now." Perception is changing in Southern California and the Bruins are in play for a lot more top-tier prospects. With Southern Cal reeling from sanctions, and well, having Lane Kiffin as their head coach, Jim Mora has set up UCLA perfectly to re-claim Los Angeles from the Trojans and send things back to the status quo of the 1990s.
- But we couldn't have a Bruin Bites post without giving love to our favorite Bruin running back: the future mayor of Los Angeles, Johnathan "Jet Ski" Franklin. In case you missed it, before Jet Ski led UCLA to Saturday's win over Southern Cal, the Orange County Register ran a really solid profile of this awesome young man. It's impossible not to be in this guy's corner, and not just because he wears the Blue and Gold.
- In non-UCLA news, our fellow basketball blue-blood program in Chapel Hill finds itself in the middle of a campus-wide academic fraud investigation spanning every athletic program. We've been watching the Trojans give out houses, Range Rovers, and every other impermissible benefit possible for years, all while letting their star athletes get credit in joke courses like Senora Ross' Spanish class or Matt Leinart's ballroom dancing course. Turns out the Tar Heels are in just as deep. Hey Howland: just because their hoops program will probably get hit hard, that is not an invitation to accept the transfer of every second-rate player on their roster.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to start the work week with. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and additions in the comments thread.