The weekend is almost upon us and all Bruin eyes are focused on Omaha as U.C.L.A. gets ready to face the North Carolina Tarheels tonight for the chance to advance to the College World Series Championship round. The Bruins need just one win to get to the best of three series for the NCAA title, while UNC will need to beat the Bruins both today and tomorrow. But before we get ready for Ryan's preview and the game tonight, let's look at some of the U.C.L.A.-centric news from the last few days.
- Sticking with baseball, Bruins' Coach John Savage talks on SI.com about his pair of aces in Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig. Wryly noting that the two pitchers weren't even third team All-Americans, Savage is more than proud enough to point out the success the team has had with the pair going 1-2 in the pitching rotation this year as proof of how underrated the two are. A look at the Bruins' offensive totals for the season further demonstrates just how amazing they have been this season. Plutko and Vander Tuig have the Bruins poised for their deepest run in the CWS ever, save for the finals appearance two years ago spearheaded by another pair of Bruin aces, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. Throw in this year's Closer of the year in David Berg and you know what you get? That's right, everyone, #PitcherU. Suck it, Penn St.
- Oh, and speaking of those bittermen in Happy Valley who seemingly should have more important things to worry about than a U.C.L.A. Linebackers Coach throwing down a major challenge to his unit, it appears that it may be more than just pride that is driving Penn St to protect the term "Linebacker U". Apparently, Penn State University has trademarked the term and uses it for merchandising, and is even considering the possibility of legal action against anyone using the term. Now, the Nittany Lions ought to know they have less than nothing to fear from any potential U.C.L.A. marketing efforts. Nevertheless, it's just fine with me if we don't waste our time selling hats and t-shirts and coozies and keychains with "Linebacker U" stenciled on them. To paraphrase Coach, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what terms you have trademarked to use to merchandise stuff". Still, maybe the Bruins should consider trademarking the term, "We have more titles than anyone else". And also, "Fire Dan!"
- The U.C.L.A. Track team has an incredible legacy, but is one of many programs to suffer under the Reign of Guerreror. However that hasn't stopped some of our amazing student-athletes from reaching some impressive achievements and striving for more. Led by 3-time All-American Turquoise Thompson in the 400 meter hurdles, eight of our Bruins will be in Des Moines Iowa this week (because if you can't be in Omaha, where's the next best place to be?) to compete in the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Our Bruins will be competing for a spot on the USA National Outdoor team which will compete in the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia. You can see read details about the athletes and their events as well at internet streaming and TV schedules on the official site here. Good luck to all our great T&F athletes.
- The one and only "Solid Gold Sound" of the U.C.L.A. Marching Band has rocked The Rose Bowl, China, Japan, The Staples Center with The Rolling Stones, and now, a bit less glamorously, a construction pit on campus. It does make more sense when you realize that pit is going to be the new Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. The facility is being built next to Schoenberg Hall and the Inverted Fountain and should be completed by next summer. You can see the Marching Band's performance here, as well as performances by the LaMi String Quartetand The Music of India Ensemble, and for Fox71, several Opera students. All that's missing for perfection is Alter Bridge. It's good to see U.C.L.A. investing in infrastructure that actually benefits its historically unparalleled student and educational experiences, as opposed to ridiculous and unnecessary projects like a hotel in the middle of campus.
- Finally, on the academic side of things, some U.C.L.A. scientists are predicting more sunny days ahead for U.C.L.A., but not in the way that we'd hope. While the year round sunshine (and tanning coeds) is a major attraction of life in Westwood, it may not be as great for the environment. Dr Alex Hall, a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, authored a study that predicts that rising temperatures in the Southland will contribute to a 70% decrease in snow in the surrounding mountains all the way up the the Tehachapis and Southern Sierras in the coming decades. Of course, you can all still come out to Colorado to ski with me, but the bigger problem than the damage to winter recreation in California and the loss of those gorgeous wintertime views of the San Gabriels is the environmental toll that all that would-be snow would cause when it comes instead as rain, creating massive problems with increased erosion, mudslides, and flash floods. It may even be difficult to capture all that water, meaning So Cal will still be stealing water for years to come. Dr Hall intends the study to assist with planning for climate change and hopefully inspire some ways to mitigate the changes. Like building an on-campus football stadium to reduce all those cars driving to Pasadena and back in the fall, for example?
Alright folks, those are some bits and pieces of news and notes from the UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, and various opinions on all things U.C.L.A.