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Spaulding Roundup: UCLA-Michigan Matchup Gains More Steam & Other Football Notes

Let's start our football roundup this week with more chatter on scheduling. Looks like tWWL agrees with us and Maize n Brew about the urgent need for an out of conference matchup between Michigan and UCLA. It is urgent for the overwhelming sanity of the Wolverine fans (well the ones who partake in the comment threads of ESPN) upset about the Bruins being declared the superior pipeline to NFL than the Wolverines (from 79-09). It was Ted Miller who made the convincing case for our Bruins:

UCLA has produced 12 AP first-team All-Pro players; Michigan, 11. UCLA has produced 16 AP second-team All-Pro players; Michigan, 14. Former Bruins have played in 51 Pro Bowls. Former Wolverines have played in 41.

Michigan waves around a Tom Brady; UCLA counters with a Troy Aikman. Michigan's got a Steve Hutchinson, UCLA's got a Jonathan Ogden. Charles Woodson? Let me introduce you to Kenny Easley. Wolverines reach back for Tony McGee at tight end? UCLA only needs to offer up Marcedes Lewis. Running backs? Do you really want to go there? Didn't think so. Linebackers? UCLA offers Ken Norton, Roman Phifer and Donnie Edwards? Michigan? Crickets. To show our generous spirit, the Bruins will concede receivers, as long as the Wolverines recognize the wide gap in the production of kickers and punters.

Michigan football is a great tradition. It just doesn't produce as many NFL players as UCLA does.

The only change I would make there is that I wouldn't offer Ken Norton. I don't consider Pom Pom's Poodle a Bruin any more. Until he issues a formal apology to CRN and the Bruin family for launching all the classless attacks he launched in recent years, he is dead to us. Plus I consider Donnie Edwards a much better LB than Norton. Moreover, Edwards is just a better person.

Anyway, going back to this mythical matchup re. NFL talents, I do find it a little amusing that tWWL is arrogant enough to think sports didn't exist prior to 1979. It would be interesting to compare the numbers from the 50s and see how these two schools stack up against each other. 

More importantly, I hope we don't have to wait till 2018 to find out how UCLA and Michigan matches up. I strongly believe this is one of those matchups that should be lot more frequent. It just makes sense at every level given the similarities between the two institutions and their respective student body/alumni in terms of academics. More after the jump.

In terms of the present, Ted Miller is thinking the Bruins are going to have a 6 win season with number of tough losses:

Kraft Fight Hunger

UCLA vs. Nevada: The Bruins go 6-6 against a brutal schedule, with every game decided by a touchdown or less. The big news, however, is the series of round-off back handsprings coach Rick Neuheisel does down winding Lombard Street when linebacker Akeem Ayers, defensive end Datone Jones and safety Rahim Moore each announce they will return for the senior season.

Well as we have always maintained right now it is hard to fault Miller for making this kind of prediction. If I were to do game by game prediction I'd probably set the median somewhere around 6 wins with number of games that will be in the toss-up category. This all depends on how healthy are going to be in both side of the trenches and how much our skill position players will develop during the off-season.  

Even Jon Gold from the Daily News, who tends to be bullish on UCLA sports (and I appreciate his excitement over it), conceded the reality around our OL situation when Rick Neuheisel/Norm Chow arrived in Westwood (emphasis added):

I think it's definitely fair to question Chow's performance, but at the same time, he really, REALLY, had little to work with. The offensive line recruiting during Dorrell's last few years was shockingly bad, and that translated on the field. Chow is unquestionably one of the great minds in the game, but even he needs something to work with. That's why a combination of Neuheisel's recruiting and Chow's game-planning could be monster.

Speaking of Chow, Miller had a funny, deadpan comment from Chow in his "best of spring" post  on tWWL:

Best quote II: Norm Chow on whether the UCLA offense breaks through in 2010: "I have no idea, but we have to be better or you'll be talking to somebody else next year."

LOL. I don't think Chow has to worry all that much. FWIW I am slightly more optimistic than I was at this point last year. I do believe our OL will take noticeable steps forward resulting in better offensive production. Yet as we know in football, especially in the case of Bruin football, health can be fragile thing. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Lastly, time for what is becoming a daily routine which is to check in with latest hackish BS coming out from the OC Register's "UCLA Blog" courtesy of Trogan Adam Maya. Maya's latest post does a little run down of our WRs in which he mocks our guys for inconsistency this past spring. He then goes on spin the spring storylines in his ketchup and mustard colors:

Their limited availability this spring opened the door for Carroll, who appeared to earn back some of the favor he lost during a mostly disappointing freshman season. The speedster showed he was more than fast, playing smarter and proving more reliable with his hands and route-running, his play only getting better as camp progressed.

It should be noted Carroll impressed during fall camp last year, too, before falling out of the rotation midway through the season because of poor performance and character issues. Whether he has actually matured will remain a legitimate question until the 2010 season begins.

Uh. I don't remember the reports about Randal Carroll emerging as a complete WR last Fall? Of course we were all impressed with his speed but right from the get go we all understood he had lot of room for development in terms of emerging as a complete football player. So not sure where the heck Maya is getting that from. The clown also made up nonsense about UCLA RBs "disappointing" coaches this spring:

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said Coleman would be the starting tailback if the season were to begin today, which might have been a nice way of saying he had disappointed the coaches the least. For whatever it's worth, the 6-0, 230-pound junior had the best spring of the three, maintaining his title as the Bruins' most reliable option while answering the call to be more physical.

Rest of that post is just dripping with sarcasm and either direct or indirect cheap shots against the football team.

It is pretty clear what Maya is doing. He is trying to get a rise out of UCLA fans by getting them to fill up the comment thread in the OC Register's pathetic little "UCLA blog" or inviting angry emails from UCLA fans, establishing himself as some kind of provocative write in the eyes of his clueless editor.  He is not going to get his press credential taken away because UCLA gains nothing out of that gesture. If UCLA takes away his press credential most likely he and his editors are going to make a huge drama out of it attacking UCLA.

So the best way to address this hack's BS is basically to continue to mock and expose him right here. He has already built up a nice paper trail of nonsense establishing him perhaps the dumbest and snarkiest Trogan hack covering the UCLA beat. We will do our part of calling him out right here but of course it would always help if you guys also help us take him on in the fanpost/fanshots section whenever appropriate (without giving him the benefit of links or satisfaction of bombarding him with emails).