The Perils of Media Overexuberance in Los Angeles

Here is to Franklin and the Bruins grinding upward. - Doug Pensinger

Media Overexuberance in Los Angeles....yes, I know that's redundant. But I need to warn Bruin fans not to fall into the traps that the media is creating.

I really don't want to spoil anyone's fun. Believe me, we haven't had this kind of fun in years. But I do want everyone to consider history, consider our place, and approach this with a sense of

Consider this piece from Ted Miller on ESPN-LA

UCLA Could take L.A. from the Trojans

...

Ah, but the sun is rising in Westwood under new coach Jim Mora, and the Trojans are no longer cackling at anyone. In fact, the Bruins are now casting a shadow on USC, which for the first time since 2001 trails UCLA in the BCS standings.

USC behind UCLA. In football. We'll now pause for a moment to let the UCLA folks savor that for a bit.

But wait ... there's Mora, er, more!

If the Bruins can survive a trip to Pullman, Wash., on Saturday, they will host USC on Nov. 17 with the South Division on the line. They could win the division right there and advance to the Pac-12 title game, no finger quotes or asterisk required. The secondary benefit would be putting a powder blue boot print in what was supposed to be a special season for USC.

It sounds nice, doesn't it? *$c sitting in our shadow. Stomping powder(keg!) blue on the trogans' unfinished business. Los Angeles being our town again. We won't need to own the police, since we already own the Mayor's office now and in the future, too.

Beware.

Consider this piece from Bill Plaschke in the LA Times

Westwood, Ho!

...

But now the UCLA football team has done the impossible.

It has won the neighborhood.

When it comes to college football, Los Angeles clearly belongs to the Bruins.

Not USC, not any more, not even close, and not only just this year.

This is a Bruin football town, and has been a Bruin football town, and will continue to be a Bruin football town as long as the Bruins continue running the consistent, directed program so lacking across town.

Certainly, there are some USC alumni who will disagree.

But surely not even that constant digital recording of "Conquest" blaring from their dashboard can distract them from the facts.

The Bruins have the rankings.

Sound familiar?

In what must have been as similarly fatalistic and painful moment as a wolf chewing of his own leg to escape a trap, PlaSChke wrote those telling words bequeathing Los Angeles to the U.C.L.A. Bruins on October 25, 2001.

It was Cheat Carroll's first year. *$c had beaten us twice in a row already.

We choked that next game against Stanford, and we know which way things went from there.

Miller is on the verge of laying that same classic trap this week of planting the flag too soon, and I am worried that many Bruin fans are falling for it, too. Fans have the right to cheer how they want, even if it isn't justified yet. The problem with it though is that the higher we build the pedestal, the longer the fall. And falls hurt. I don't want us to build that pedestal too high or too soon until I'm a little more certain about its foundation. I don't want to see our game threads littered with profanities and disappointment and teeth gnashing by people who are already game planning for Oregon. I want us as fans game planning for Washington State like this game means our lives. Because right now, it does.

The decade long period from October 2001 to now has been as dark a time for U.C.L.A. football as there has ever been, and I hope that the scars from that time have taught us some humility, and patience, and sophistication, and the importance of doing things the right way to regain the standing we had before that. Hard work and focus will get us to our goal. Hubris will get us another decade like the last.

Like I wrote on Sunday morning, we are only partway up the mountain. But there are no awards for climbing halfway. There is still a long way to go, and the air gets thinner and colder and the trail steeper before we reach the summit. So take a second to admire the view right now, because it is very pretty from here. But there is still a long ways to go, and it's not a done deal. Take a deep breath, Bruins, and keep grinding upward.

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