I don’t know how else to put this. But there is a very unsettling feeling around our football program right now. Sure our recruiting is going very well early in the season. That’s nice and all. But it’s nothing really new. Bruins have always gotten off to good starts in recruiting game. It happened a lot during Toledo era as well when he was hauling in his top-5/10 classes. But time and again recruiting crashed and burned down the stretch going through our usual late season meltdowns and collapses. The trend hasn’t changed much during the KD era as keep finishing seasons with humiliating losses and pathetic performances in no-name bowl games. So yeah, I am happy about recruiting and all, but have around long enough none of this early recruiting success is not going to matter jack unless we put together a complete season on par with our expectations. And right now … I think we have a general consensus at least in this Bruins Nation what should our expectations be.
Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to vote in our current online poll concerning minimum expectations (not predictions) for this upcoming season. Special thanks to Bruin Blue for articulating so eloquently why the "unreasonable expectations" card outsiders like to play on UCLA football fans is a joke. Assuming in order to get to BCS game UCLA will have to win at least the Pac-10 championship or a share of it, I think it is reasonable to conclude that almost 70 percent of BN expects Dorrell to win the conference or at least a share of the conference crown next season. That is pressure. And while Dorrell is certainly going to feel this pressure internally from the UCLA community heading into this regular season, it looks like the pressure is starting to come from outside sources as well.
Even CFN a site which has been notorious for overly conservative expectations with regards to Dorrell's program is expecting a BCS appearance from Karl Dorrell:
Jan. 1 / 4:30 p.m. Pasadena, Calif. ABC
*BCS vs. BCS (Big Ten Champion vs. Pac 10 Champion, if available)
Way Too Early Projection: Wisconsin vs. UCLA
Top 5 Others Considered: 1) USC, 2) Michigan, 3) Penn State, 4) Ohio State, 5) LSU
The call is for Wisconsin to win the tie-breaker with Michigan, and come up with the wins needed, to get to Pasadena, but Penn State, Ohio State, or even Iowa, who misses the Wolverines and the Buckeyes, could slide in. With USC the call to go to New Orleans, UCLA would be a dream choice to create a Big Ten/Pac 10 matchup. Of course, if USC plays for the national title, the Rose would get the first choice of at-large teams and might be interested in selling out the place with LSU fans, if the Tigers aren't staying close to home in early January.
He has the toughest job among BCS schools. Dorrell must set up shop across town from, recruit player-for-player alongside and constantly be measured against the best program in the nation.
The Bruins’ victory against the Trojans last year upped the ante. Now UCLA not only is expected to compete with USC, but — with 20 starters returning — the Bruins are expected to compete for the Pac-10 title. Ten wins is a legitimate goal and would eliminate doubts stemming from last year’s step back after 2005’s 10-win season.
The skinny: Dorrell loves the NFL and eventually wants to return as a head coach (he has turned down opportunities). But he won’t leave his alma mater until the Bruins return to the Rose Bowl. That might just happen this season.
Anyways, we know Hayes is a Dorrell shill. He drank the kool-aid a while ago. So he will always try to protect this below average coach. However, it is nice for him to come out and lay out the expectations of a Rose Bowl. If Dorrell ends up putting UCLA in a position in which the team ends up playing at the Rose Bowl, ceding the NC game to Southern Cal (which probably means a close loss in that last game of the season and UCLA tying for at least a share of the conference title) no one here is going to be too upset. It will probably mean Dorrell came up with a season featuring a double digit wins. That's actually fine with me. If he pulls that he will be gone to the NFL giving DG the opportunity to hire a coach he really wants at UCLA (not leaving the search up to losers like Bob Field). But what matters here is we are hearing outside MSM sources laying out how they expect UCLA to make appearances (at least) in the Rose Bowl this season. That ratchets up the pressure even more on a coach who to date has not produced any tangible results (unlike his UCLA counterparts in basketball and in baseball) to show that our program is on the right track.
By the way going back to the poll only 13 percent of the readers has an expectation of finishing just above .500. I'd like to hear the rationale behind that vote. I don't believe these voters are even UCLA fans. They are probably losers from cross-town trying to sabotage the vote.
Anyways, we'd like to get more feedback on this poll. We are attaching viral tags below so that you can email, digg, the link to the poll to all your friends from UCLA and get their feedback on it. Let's see if we can get more than 1000 people to respond to this poll and form a majority opinion on what should be the minimum expectations (again not predictions) for our football program heading into next season.
So once again the bottom line for really comes up to Karl Dorrell coming up with a season that matches our expectations. Until then the unsettling feeling around his mediocre program will not go away. And news like coach being let go at weird time of the off season is not going to help in settling down this program either.