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Spaulding Roundup: A November To Remember?

Those of you who have been visiting this little corner of the internets every day know full well how we have been realistic about our expectations re. this season for months. We knew given the schedule we had this year and the program CRN inherited from the previous regime, this was going to be a brutal season. The overwhelming majority of BN members have been maintaining a big picture perspective of this program during the downs of this up and down year the whole season. That said, I think it is time to do an Achilles, who is across the Pacific on a much deserved two week vacation. [No worries he already cast his absentee ballot].

This weekend’s game against Oregon State is shaping up to be probably the most important game of this season (of course every game from there on will take added significance). While we are full aware of the reality of what we are dealing with this season, this year’s upperclassmen (especially seniors like Harwell) know they have a chance to leave a mark on this program, the same way Dijon Thompson left his during Howland’s second season in Westwood. With a victory against Oregon State this weekend, Bruins can take a step in making this a November to remember:

Since 2000, UCLA has posted an 8-15 mark in the month of November and have managed to move up in the Top 25 rankings just twice in the month this decade. Just twice this decade have the Bruins posted a winning record in November and their 4-9 mark in December since 2000 isn't much better.

"Coach told us that they only remember what you do in November," linebacker Reggie Carter said. "We've tried to stress it.

"November hasn't been our best friend. This season it didn't seem like September and October were our friends, so hopefully November will like us this year."

Unlike most years where UCLA's schedule has most of its tougher conference games late in the season, this year's is slightly different and may play into the Bruins' favor.

UCLA will play Oregon State on Saturday before traveling to winless Washington on Nov. 15. After a bye week, the Bruins will play a bad Arizona State squad in Tempe on Nov. 28. […]

"These are the games we are going to remember for a long time and they will be great memories if we find a way to play our best football at this time," Neuheisel said. "That's the challenge and that's the goal."

According to Neuheisel, missing the bowl game would be a “disappointment” for this program. From Dohn in the Daily News:

"It's disappointing because you love those extra practices," Neuheisel said. "You love the chance to play one more time for your seniors, and you love the chance to have your young players continue to practice and continue to improve.

"It would be disappointing. I don't know if we would call it an ultimate failure, but it will be disappointing."

UCLA (3-5, 2-3 Pac-10) hosts the Beavers, who can win the conference title by winning out, followed by road trips to Washington and Arizona State, before finishing the season at home against USC.

Reggie Carter and his team-mates will need to be prepared because they are taking on one of the better teams in West Coast. Right now UCLA defense still has no idea which QB it will be facing on Saturday:

The UCLA defense still isn't sure what it will face against Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl.

Beavers quarterback Lyle Moevao remained questionable after injuring his right shoulder against Arizona State last weekend. If he cannot play, sophomore Sean Canfield will start.

"Canfield has played -- it's not as though he's an inexperienced player," UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I don't think it changes how you prepare for them."

But Canfield played poorly against the Bruins in Corvallis last year and UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter said, "From watching film, you kind of think [Moevao] is the guy that makes the offense go."

Carter figures less Moevao could mean more of the Pacific 10 Conference's leading rusher, Jacquizz Rodgers.

"He's a strong runner," Carter said.

Carter and co will have to be prepared for an Oregon State team that features lot more weapons than Jacquizz Rodgers. As noted by CV300 Oregon State has 4 players in Pac-10’s top-15 in yards from scrimmage. No other team has more than 2.

Hopefully the Bruin defense will be ready and pay close attention to Carter:

"If we want to start this run to make it to a bowl game, it starts now," UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter said. "We have to have this one. This is the most important game."

We have to win this Saturday, if Carter and his team-mates want to make this a November to remember.