Part of me thinks this is the one week all year when I should put my negative feelings aside and root, root, root for the home team.
But writing something like that would be a lie -- or at least, a partial lie.
Yeah, I'm rooting for the Bruins this week. And sitting at a wedding Saturday night knocking back Wild Turkeys at a table full of drunk-and-getting-drunker Bruins fans I could almost contort myself into seeing what they saw and inflating what little chance I think we've got into real possibilities. SC was routing Notre Dame upstairs on the TV in the bar didn't fuel the fantasy, the open bar downstairs helped a lot.
The drunk cousin sitting next to me promised me he'd buy me dinner when UCLA won -- wanted to know if I'd do the same if SC won. I told him I'd never bet on the Trojans, no matter what -- he said he'd buy me dinner anyway to celebrate the Bruins win.
Let's hope I'm eating steak next Saturday night.
But what's really on my mind are the coaching changes going on around college football. Seeing what Michigan State has done, what North Carolina has done, what Miami and Alabama did and are about to do reminds me that UCLA football isn't just average, it's irrelevant. Programs with records the same or better than ours are making upgrades and others who simply dream bigger than we're allowed to are rolling the dice on new coaches.
Prediction: No top or want to be top program will hire an NFL position coach to take over the on the sidelines.
Here's my short and long range predictions:
We fail to cover the double-digit spread against SC, then bounce back to beat Hawaii in Hawaii, finishing 7-6. The SC loss will be excused because "no one expected us to beat them anyway." Ohio State will beat SC by double-digits -- demonstrating just how far we are from the top.
We spend the off-season reading and hearing about how many players we return and how '07 is the year ... only to finish 9-3 against the easiest schedule in memory. We won't go to a BCS game or even the Holiday Bowl, but 9-3 will stand as proof that we're all on the same page.