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No Room For a Let Down

Christian Taylor's comments (thankfully) are reverberating in every game article this am. Dohn has more on why tonight is a must win situation for Dorrell's football program:

"We have to win this game to keep momentum," UCLA junior tailback Chris Markey said. "People are going to be like, `Oh, they beat USC,' but if we happen to lose to Florida State, they'll be like, `Oh, they're not for real. The same UCLA team.' But we're going to make changes. We're going to step it up, get this win and go into next season really confident."

It is, of course, a familiar refrain for UCLA.

Two years ago, the Bruins gained bowl eligibility with an impressive win at Oregon, then nearly upset top-ranked USC at the Rose Bowl.

Things were going well in Los Angeles, where the Bruins were getting their share of recognition despite losing to the Trojans.

Grandiose plans were discussed about the upcoming offseason, and hot-shot transfer quarterback Ben Olson committed to the Bruins.

The only thing needed to keep the momentum going for eight months was a win against Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl. Instead, UCLA lost 24-21 in an embarrassing meltdown, blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter All the optimism slipped away.
We, of course, weren't all that impressed with that moral victory against Southern Cal. Neither were we impressed with a road win over a mediocre Oregon team in 2004. This year may be a little different. We will always appreciate a win over Southern Cal, no matter how we get it. However, I think as rabid followers of this program, we are more than aware that this year's 7-5 season hasn't exactly lived up to our expectations. Sure, the season ended on a very positive note, and it could set up for a (expected) huge season in 2007. However, if the Bruins come out flat and do not repeat the performance of 12/2 tonight, then all the optimism generated from that Saturday will wash away:
[W]hatever momentum Coach Karl Dorrell and the Bruins generated can come to a crashing halt tonight in the Emerald Bowl against Florida State.

If the Bruins come out flat and unprepared to play at AT&T Park in San Francisco, if the offense fails to generate any points on a field made squishy by rain or if they happen to lose this game and look bad doing it, there again will be questions about the direction and the leadership of the program.
BTW, speaking of the squishy field in San Francisco, Dump Dorrell has more on how the weather can impact tonight's game.

The kickoff is set for 5 pm PST. I am excited about it. It is going to be very interesting to see how our guys come out. It looks like we have hurt some feelings by running the current poll on Bruins Nation. Well, that's just tough shit. We have nothing but respect for the tradition Coach Bowden has established at Florida State. But that doesn't mean we need to bow down and pay our respect just because we are taking on the 'Noles. Not sure why we should expect anything less than a total victory over a football program which was shut out at home by a little basketball school like Wake Forest. [And before anyone pipes up in the comment thread with an asinine, tired take of UCLA being a "basketball school," read a number of posts we have written up on the topic elsewhere on BN. We have had that debate already ad nauseum here on BN. If you want to come with a stupid take that UCLA is just a basketball school, that weak nonsense somewhere else]

Yes, this Florida State is a washed up football program that lost to Boston College and to Clemson at home, and had to win a nail-biter against Western Michigan to qualify for this bowl game. It's a washed up football program that had to scrape by some school named Troy, and piled up its defensive stats against some atrocious and wretched offensive teams on their pathetic schedule.

We are respectful of Bowden. But we are pointing out nothing but the reality when it comes to labeling the 2006 version of the Seminoles as a "washed up" program. It's just a mediocre football team with a weak resume that the current UCLA program with all its talent should have no problem handling.

To state the obvious, anything short of a total win over a washed up Florida State will be a let down in San Francisco. And, if think we are just saying it to set up Karl Dorrell, once again read Christian Taylor's comments, printed in pretty much every Southern California paper today (emphasis mine):
"If we lose this game, then the SC game meant nothing," UCLA junior middle linebacker Christian Taylor said. "To me, that's the biggest thing. We've won our last few games, but if we lose our last game of the season, we're not going in the right direction heading into the off-season.

"It can be a wake-up call, but it's not what you want. It's not good for anything. ... It's not good for notoriety. It's not good for preseason rankings. It's not good for recruiting. It's not good for the overall mentality of your program."
No excuses.

Get it done Dorrell. There is no room for a let down.