Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone in the wider Bruin Nation, even to the haters (Howlers, Neubs, Dorrellistas, and Chianti apologists), as we enjoy this wonderful day away from work to crawl under the tree, unpack those stockings, drink some egg nog, and unwrap those wonderful gifts. From all of us here at Bruins Nation, we hope you're enjoying this holiday season and that this winter has brought you all nothing but joy (unless you're Dan Guerrero, in which case, we hope you realize the only job you're qualified for, and with the appropriate body for, is a mall Santa Claus).
Speaking of ol' St. Nick, we're going to once again rip off the old jolly man and run through our very own UCLA-related naughty and nice list, beginning with our favorite nice folks of the past year:
Anthony Barr: He turned down the chance to jump to the NFL after his break-out year last year to return to Westwood and lead our defense to another outstanding campaign under Lou Spanos, and in the process was handsomely rewarded by vastly improving his draft stock, going from probably third rounder to for-sure first rounder, if not the top defensive player on the board, ahead even of South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney.
Brett Hundley: No doubt that #17 would be on the nice list, even though his year was inconsistent by his own high standards. He definitely took some big steps forward, but needs one more year, and all indicators point to a return to Westwood being a special Heisman-worthy campaign for the gunslinger from Chandler, Arizona. Let's hope he makes a third consecutive nice list by this time next year.
Coach Jim Mora: While on the field, he barely met the minimum expectations (winning 9 games, beating Southern Cal, and winning the Pac-12 South), while surrendering the division to Arizona State, but off-the-field, he used the Trojans' laughable hire of Sarkisian and Washington's interest in him to leverage more money from UCLA, including top dollar for his in-demand assistants, securing the continued services of Adrian Klemm at the expense of Southern Cal. And whenever a coach makes national news for making it clear that UCLA is greater than Washington and Southern Cal, that's a win in our book.
Coach Amanda Cromwell: She rolled into UCLA this summer after spending more than a decade at Central Florida, and all she managed to do was turn the Lady Bruins into a tough-defending never-quit group that brought home the 110th NCAA national championship trophy to Westwood. A national title always puts you in the nice column.
The entire women's soccer team: You win the national title? That makes the nice list.
Coach John Savage: He's done nothing but turn UCLA into an elite national power in collegiate baseball, taking the Bruins and making them the power in Southern California, which is all the more impressive given the competition and history of the programs at Southern Cal, Long Beach State, and Cal State Fullerton.
The entire baseball team: Ditto.
We could spend all day going through the nice list, naming pretty much the entire football team, and a ton of other student athletes, plus all of the various faculty members who openly called for Guerrero's head when it became readily apparent how much of an incompetent boob he is for hiring the Hoosier Loser. But since you all probably want to get back to your families for Christmas, we'll cut to the chase and get to the naughty list:
Chianti Dan Guerrero: Public Enemy #1. This oxygen thief has done nothing but hinder UCLA athletics with his amateur handling of the department, from poor program management, to a complete inability to promote or market UCLA athletics, Guerrero has been a complete disaster, only getting lucky with a couple of hires, while simultaneously bringing in some real failures or retaining coaches that embody mediocrity. You could write novels longer than War and Peace on his incompetence, but nothing demonstrates it quite like his hire of the Hoosier Loser and the insane contract and buyout he gave a coach with a worse track record that the total coaching fraud known as Steve Lavin.
Gene Block: In most industries, simply pretending to ignore unpleasant problems doesn't make them go away, but usually costs a person their job. In the wonderful world of being a chancellor at a UC campus, it's apparently a completely acceptable practice.
Steve "Hoosier Loser" Alford: The Alleged Rape Apologist isn't called the Hoosier Loser for nothing: the man has made it to the Sweet Sixteen just once. He's failed the only time he coached in a semi-legitimate conference. Oh, and he's the guy responsible for giving Harvard their only NCAA tournament win ever, by coaching his #3-seeded New Mexico squad to an incredible loss to #14-seeded Harvard. Never mind that he displays blatant nepotism in playing his rather mediocre son. And if all of that wasn't enough, his off-the-court issues, which includes his continued defense of his conduct involving the Pierre Pierce scandal at Iowa (which he only "apologized" for when a major firestorm was brought by UCLA faculty, fans, and alums). The naughty list doesn't even begin to describe this failure.
Adidas: Our uniforms still suck. You're still doing a half-ass job fixing the shoulder stripe. But why should you worry? It's not like Chianti Dan will do any work in doing his due diligence when it comes time to negotiate a new contract and use Under Armour and Nike's interest to make you guys actually do some work.
So, perhaps the naughty list is more like a bit out of Frank Costanza's Festivus airing of grievances. In any event, if you're done opening your presents, feel free to fire away with your own ideas of who makes UCLA's naughty and nice lists this year. Did we get it wrong or get it right? Miss someone important or obvious? Fire away with your thoughts, takes and additions in the comment thread.
GO BRUINS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!