Heya Bruins Nation,
Some of you might recognize me as your regularly-visiting OSU Beaver. To those of you who don't, well... I'm a regularly-visiting OSU Beaver. I started visiting frequently during the last Neuheisel year when our teams played (you guys won :-(
Today I was reading the Ben Howland Farewell thread and saw a mini-convo containing these comments:
Couple of others are commenting away here today even though they have no connection to UCLA. For some reason fans of other programs are really anxious to concern troll about our program instead of worrying about their own.
We’ve adopted a few trolls . . . a few brown-nosing trolls Scotty256 but trolls nonetheless. God once said that it is very Bruin to take in lost souls.
(My nose is perfectly peachy, thank you :p )
I know the first one wasn't talking about me, but the comments got me thinking: Why AM I here so often? Why do I watch your games? Why do I follow the UCLA sports programs and care at all what's going on?
I have no real ties to UCLA. The closest thing to any sort of personal connection is that I lived really close to Los Angeles for a couple of years. As such, I really have no emotional investment in the school or its athletic program.
Then why the interest in UCLA athletics? I'll come clean here, the good and the bad:
1. The UCLA program is awash in drama.
This is bad for Bruins, but I'm not going to lie - it's highly entertaining for others. It's like a sports soap opera with tons of subplots:
- The end of the Neuheisel era, complete with the stomping of Texas, Arizona/fake streaker ref, unusual Pac-12 South Championship, constant spin and smoke coming out of the AD's office (esp. after 50-0)...
- Mora having a good first year despite the inexplicable loss at Cal, finally beating USC and all the excitement and jubilation from Bruins fans, the beat Stanford/lose to Stanford strategy talks and all the weirdness there (Mora ended up being a happy subplot so far)
- Ben Howland, the SI article, Reeves Nelson, the top recruiting class, the Shabazz buzz and NCAA investigation craziness, player departures, Cal Poly, beating Arizona three times (thank you for that), Bill Walton
- Dan Guerrero LOL - I've been on some other boards, and despite what they think of Bruins Nation or [insert coach here]'s performance, it seems like a near-universal theme that they want someone to can Dan. How this guy has a job, especially getting paid $750k+, I have no idea.
So some good, some bad.... actually mostly bad. Two major coaches gone in two seasons means something's not right. But it's all very interesting. It's a bit like why people watch reality shows. UCLA is the Kardashians to OSU's CSPAN2. (I don't watch any Kardashian shows for the record, bleh.)
2. It is in the conference's best interest for UCLA to live up to its potential.
Just don't do it against the Beavs, please :-B
Money is important. Perception is important. Without UCLA and USC being in a major media market and having fans across the nation, we don't get all this cool sparkly Pac-12 loot. Schools like OSU need its share of that loot. The more interest in UCLA athletics, the better the negotiating power of the conference. UCLA doing well means more interest, and it also means better perception of the Pac. This helps all of the Pac schools when it comes to the postseason in sports.
So you'll notice I differ from a lot of you here: I don't have anything against USC, and I appreciate what they bring to the conference table. I do still enjoy a good Kiffy-mocking, though :-3
What is downright baffling is how the Bruin program can underachieve so much. What do you guys have going for you?
- Name recognition and history? Yes.
- A budget in the top-40 in the country? Uh huh.
- Prime recruiting area? Yep.
- Well-known graduates to rep? Definitely.
- A top-notch Athletic Director to pull everything together? Uhhh... errrrr... ah...... [fidget]
Okay, maybe it's not so baffling.
3. It's nice to have another team to follow for pure entertainment without all the hair-pulling emotion.
I watched the Alamo Bowl. I watched our basketball team this year. I pulled my hair.
There's one "outsider's" view on UCLA athletics, for what it's worth.