It felt like the Bruins had a shot, didn't it? You can thank Lou Spanos and his defense for that, since they did everything they could do (short of taking the field for the offense and scoring the points themselves) to keep the Bruins in the game against the up-tempo high-powered Oregon Ducks' offense. Two weeks in a row and Lou Spanos' boys have answered the bell, while Noel Mazzone and his inept offense continue to cost UCLA important games. For the record, it now makes Jim Mora just 4-4 against ranked opponents (and one of those included last year's Southern Cal joke squad which was in a free fall all season, at #21 when we caught them, so it's not like they really counted) and 2-4 in major conference games of significance (beating Arizona State and Southern Cal last year, while losing to Stanford three times in two years and Oregon last week).
So, in short, until Mora wins the big one and brings home a conference title, all of this talk about a #BruinRevolution and "culture change" is just that: talk. For now, it seems we're too busy getting #Mazzoned out of victories by our gutless, unimaginative offensive coordinator's play-calling. And with that being said, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces from around the UCLA-iverse as we kick off a long work week of hearing bandwagon Duck fans chirp:
- At least Mora seems to "get it" and say the right things, unlike Karl (who always sounded clueless) or Howland ("I really should have played ____ more"), telling the media that Oregon's loss was just that: a loss. As Mora said, "[t]he heck with being close. Losers can be close. We want to get it. We want to win those games." Let's see if he takes the steps necessary to turn the garbage offense around in the next couple of weeks.
- If you want a bright spot for UCLA's future (when is this mythical, magical future of UCLA football where we win the conference and play in the Rose Bowl ever going to actually arrive?!), look no further than Myles Jack, the freshman wonder at linebacker who is quickly becoming one of UCLA's most dynamic playmakers on defense. Considering he's lining up next to Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, the fact he's the stand-out is pretty impressive.
- We mock the WWL a lot (and with good reason), but their recap of our loss in Eugene pointed out one glaring stat that everyone should take note of: Hundley's paltry 64 yards in the air, with ESPN's Mark Schlabach noting that "Hundley, who was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate until last week" is probably now off most voters' shortlists for good.
- Turning to the NFL, former UCLA running back Maurice Jones-Drew was the only bright spot in Jacksonville's otherwise pitiful offensive performance against the 49ers in London this Sunday, posting 75 yards on the ground in 19 carries, with 47 receiving yards on 6 receptions. I'm putting my money on MJD finishing his season in a familiar shade of blue in Southern California, as the Chargers have to be looking for an alternative to Ryan Mathews. Where do you think the dynamic ball of muscle will end up at?
- Also, if MJD wasn't enough, yesterday's game in the United Kingdom also marked the full return of former UCLA TE Marcedes Lewis to the Jags' line-up, as the former Mackey Award winner has missed the entire season (except for two plays) to injury.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the football-related UCLA-iverse. Fire away with your comments, additions, thoughts, etc. in the thread as we kick off yet another work week.