December 27th has finally arrived and the U.C.L.A. Bruins have cruised down the 5 to meet the Baylor Bears at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The college football world has pegged this game as one of the highlights of the bowl season as both teams bring high powered offenses and a lot of star players, so everyone is expecting a high scoring game. Now watch for a defensive struggle.
Kickoff is at 6:45 PST and the game is televised on ESPN. With the game being (theroetically) 2 hours from Westwood, hopefully we will see a Murph that is flooded with Powderkeg Blue.
The Baylor Bears (7-5) are a bit of an enigma of a team. Baylor scored 63 points in a game this season - and lost - and then scored 50 points two weeks later - and lost again. Baylor also creamed the number one team in the country in Kansas State and followed that up by beating Texas Tech and #23 Oklahoma State to close the season on an impressive 3 game win streak. Clearly, Baylor can put up points and play with anyone in the country. AHMB gave us great previews of the Bears coaching, offense, and defense/special teams. The Bruin defense will be tested by an outstanding running and passing game while our offense has to be very productive to keep pace with Baylor tonight.
U.C.L.A. (9-3) is a bit of an enigma, too. The Bruins won their second consecutive Pac-12 South title, was a field goal away from overtime for the Rose Bowl, and was the best Bruin football team in over a decade. This team also somehow lost to Cal. Fortunately for the Bruins, their good days outnumbered their bad by a lot, but the Bruins will need one more really good day to cap off the season and avoid closing with a 3 game losing streak. We have followed the Bruins bowl preparations in the stream here.
The way I see it, we've already gotten our stinker against the Bears out of the way, and so we can bring an A game against the Bears this time. Also, Coach Mora and staff have done well with extended preparation time, winning in their season opener (Rice), with 9 days between games (Nebraska), after the bye week (ASU), and outplaying #8 Stanford in their rematch. Above all, I'd love for our seniors to go out on one last high note. They have been through more downs than ups in their time at U.C.L.A. and they deserve to be the class that we will look back at in a few years and say those are the guys who turned it around once and for all in Westwood. One more time, Bruins...BOOM!
Hopefully I'm the only one in the thread today because all the rest of Bruins Nation is at the game. Actually, many of them are. But for those who aren't, here is our Holiday Bowl Open Thread. Have at it.