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Genuine excitement about Bruin football

This year:

after playing in the now-defunct Silicon Valley Football Classic and the Las Vegas Bowl the past three years, players said the Sun Bowl is a major step up.

Team leaders said the Dec. 30 clash with Big Ten representative Northwestern represents the turning around of the program, and - we know, you've heard this one before - the 17th-ranked Bruins are excited to play.

"It's a good bowl game," UCLA quarterback Drew Olson said. "I think it's the opponent that's cool with us. That's the thing that I like. That's the thing that excites me."

Olson was quickly reminded of players talking about being excited to play Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Cowboys won 24-21, further embarrassing the program.

"Yeah, but that's because we had to say that (about being excited)," Olson said. "Guys were not excited last year. But guys are truly, genuinely (this year). They really are, and that's just the difference of this team. They like playing football now."
I guess these quotes (including the other half of 2LiveDrew) were not meant to convey "genuine" excitement last year(emphasis mine):
Win and the Bruins are 7-5 and close to becoming something special in college football again.

But if they lose, a season that included many positives suddenly is stained and tainted.

That is all that is at stake for the Bruins in a Las Vegas Bowl matchup against a 6-5 Wyoming team out of the Mountain West Conference ... pretty much everything.

``This bowl game is very crucial for us,'' split end Junior Taylor said. ``We can't have any mental lapses. We're coming off two emotional games, beating Oregon and then an emotional loss to USC.

``But this bowl game is really going to define us for next year, for how we finish this year. ... If we don't beat them convincingly or if we lose, it's going to turn a lot of heads. And the two games that we played prior to that, they won't mean anything.''

Taylor also said the Bruins need to make a statement by immediately setting the tempo of the game.

``It's very important for us ... to let people know that the UCLA Bruins will be back next year,'' Taylor said. ``We just want to make sure we end the season right.''

[...]

``We're not taking this team lightly, and we're going to go out there and play like we played against USC and hope we come out with a victory,'' cornerback Matt Clark said.


``This is a good chance for us to finish off on a strong note. The past few years, we're not known for finishing strong. We played some great games. We played a strong game against USC. Unfortunately, we lost, but we definitely still proved that we're heading in the right direction. This is another game. This is a business trip.''

They know what is at stake, as well as the consequences.

``It's basically our springboard into our offseason,'' running back Maurice Drew said. ``If we win, we're going to be high. If we lose, we're going to be real low. We're trying to stay on that high, you know, not come back with a loss like we did last year.

``We have to (win) ... there's no accepting losing.''


(OC Register, Kuwada, 12/23/04)

It never gets old I guess. And you wonder why Bruin alums who follow this football program day to day are so cynical about what we have been hearing from Westwood during last seven years.