This off-season has been a little different for number 17. - Scott Halleran
News and notes from UCLA athletics programs.
A happy President's Day holiday to everyone out here. Hope most of you (if not everyone) has the day off this Monday and are enjoying a long weekend. The weekend for UCLA athletics hasn't been all that great. Ben Howland's program is back from the Bay Area after "earning" a "HUGE" split against the vaunted Bears and the Cardinal. We can already anticipate what the lead for the weekly "Word from Westwood" is going to be.
With a 9-4 record in the Joke-12 (19-7 overall) the Bruins are technically 1 game behind the Oregon Ducks (10-2, 21-5). In reality though the Ducks are 2 game up on the Bruins because of win against us at Pauley. They also have a relatively easy schedule with 3 home games against the Bay Area teams, Oregon State and a road trip to Utah and Colorado. I guess anything can happen given how awful this conference really is.
At this point even if the Bruins somehow back into the conference regular season "championship" (just like Rick Neuheisel's team backed into the Pac-12 South "Championship" two years), it won't matter much. Unless Howland has the Bruins contending for banner number 12 at the Final-4, this is all over. In other words, we are just going through the motions at this point waiting for this to end. Ryan is keeping us up to date with the baseball program while freesia is tracking the gymnastics teams. Meanwhile, let's check in with some other news and notes from UCLA athletics over the weekend:
- ICYMI Ralph Irvin caught up with Brett Hundley in this "Football Friday" video in which Hundley gave an update on what he has been up to so far this off-season. This is Hundley's third winter quarter in Westwood, but this time it's a tad bit different as he is the unquestioned leader of the program.
- Jon Wilner at College Hotline has an update on Pac-12 Network's ongoing negotiations with former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel. Neuheisel is considering a return for his second season. Wilner is effusive in his praise of Neuheisel's performance as an in-studio analyst and I generally agree with him. I hope Neuheisel comes back as it is always great to have passionate and knowledgeable Bruins in the studios talking up our program and the conference (without going too overboard).
- Let's offer up a huge round of congratulations to UCLA alumnus John Merrick, who won the Northern Trust Open Sunday with a par on the second playoff hole at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Merrick fired a final round 69 (-2) to finish at 11-under par 273 to tie Charlie Beljan after 72 holes. This was his PGA Tour win after 169 starts and took home the winner's purse of $1.188 million. Let's hope he is just getting started.
- The softball program hit 10 home runs to complete a 5-0 weekend at home. The 7-1 Bruins are ranked 18th in the nation, which is a bit off considering this is a sport the program dominated for years. Wonder what exactly is going on.
- It was an ugly weekend for the women's basketball program as the Bruins got blown up into pieces at Pauley by the Bay Area teams. The scores for either game weren't all that close. Bruins are not anywhere close to being an elite team in the Pac-12 in Coach Close's second year the program. We will see how they respond rest of this season but to say the weekend's results were discouraging would be an understatement.
It's unclear right now whether any of our men's programs will be able to bring home a title this year. That brings us this fanshot from ucla.mordsith, in which he noted prior to 2012, 1994 was the last year UCLA failed to win any national championship. That is an ugly note for Dan Guerrero. Also, remember UCLA's men's programs have just 1 (ONE) national championship in last 5 years (men's golf in 2008). Never mind the ugly record in both major revenue programs in last five years.
Just how bad it has become under Chianti. We are all delirious with happiness after a 5 loss football season. Yet, despite all this there is a good chance UCLA may end up rewarding with another fat extension when Guerrero's contract is up on March 31, paying him almost million dollar year. And you wonder why we are all just going through the motions.