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Thursday News & Notes

Let’s go over some news and notes to get us collectively out of the Holiday hangover. And the best way to cure a Holiday hangover is to take a look at another Holiday video. Check out this Holiday update video from Rivals. Uh WOW. That should wake you up.

Now let’s get to football. As some of you already noted after a little heave of desperation former Dorrell scapegoat John Wristen was finally able to secure he HCing job at Colorado State University – Pueblo. CSU Pueblo is a D-II program that recently reinstated its football program. And the press release it sent out in announcing the Wristen hiring gives us a little hint about how serious they are about having a football program:

During the 2006 season, Wristen served as the special teams and tight ends coach at UCLA. He coached all-American tight end Justin Medlock and worked closely with the offensive coordinator in play calling.
HT to Dump Dorrell. Wristen went head to head against coaches from high school to land this job, and as has been mentioned here he even brought in his parents during the interview. A little weird. But hey it worked for him. We wish him best of luck. And hopefully he won’t find himself in a situation in which he is passing the buck (like his former boss) by firing/pushing out his assistant coaches.

Speaking of his former boss, is rolling out its top-25 for this upcoming football season. It has UCLA at number 25. The Rival guys are not so impressed with Karl Dorrell:
Head coach: B-: Dorrell has taken the Bruins to bowl games each year he has been at the UCLA helm. However, UCLA is just 1-3 in those bowl games.
And those guys are not very bullish on this upcoming season either (emphasis Rival’s):
The volume of returning starters fosters feelings of great optimism in Westwood. So does a schedule which brings opponents BYU, Washington, Notre Dame, California, Arizona State and Oregon to the Rose Bowl. The Bruins expect to have one of the best defenses in the Pac-10. If injuries are avoided and quarterback Ben Olson plays to his ability, UCLA could duplicate its 10-victory season of 2005. However, with a trying non-conference schedule and an improving Pac-10, eight victories would seem a better bet.
About that "trying non-conference schedule" meme. It seems like a meme that is being peddled by the national media. ESPN’s Schlabach tried to sneak in the same nonsense about UCLA’s upcoming season schedule in a piece on teams with tough schedules. However, DD did some quick work in disposing of that argument:
Schlabach clearly recognizes that our conference schedule is as easy as we could ever hope to get, with home games coming against the toughest teams except SuC. The problem is that he must be looking at last year’s records and teams to assess our OOC schedule. BYU, a good team last year, lost a ton of starters and players to graduation - the exact opposite of our situation. This is a rebuilding year for them. And we play them in the Rose Bowl. We manhandled Utah last year with most of the same team we have this year, even with our coaching staff. How is that supposed to be a tough game? And Notre Dame is rich in tradition but not in talent, not yet anyway. We all saw how we should have beaten them AT South Bend last year, and they are losing key players in key positions. Sure, their recruiting class is tops but that isn’t going to help them when they come to Pasadena. Notre Dame will be no patsie, but we should win that game.

The schedule is set up for a Pac-10 championship and BCS bowl bid. Dorrell and UCLA will not see this kind of perfect storm of returning starters, seniors, and easy schedule for another 10 years if that. Schlabach got this one wrong.
Not only do we expect UCLA to beat Notre Dame at the Rose Bowl. We expect Bruins to win that game by a comfortable margin. We should handle the Irish if our program plays up to our talent level.

However, we do understand why people are not confident in Dorrell’s ability to meet the reasonable expectations for this upcoming season. As this piece in the Seattle Press Intelligence shows, Dorrell is not exactly confident in himself:
Never mind a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season, a 7-6 season and a bowl implosion in a 44-27 loss to Florida State. UCLA beat its crosstown rivals for the first time since 1998 and knocked the No. 2 Trojans out of the BCS Championship game. "I didn't believe it until the clock hit zero," coach Karl Dorrell said after the season's biggest upset.
LOL Now that’s what I call Dorrellian. Coach Karl giving us the ultimate sense of a confident and secure leader as the head coach of UCLA football.