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UCLA Pregame Guesses: Arizona Wildcats Edition

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A lackluster performance against lackluster Colorado last week raised more questions for the Bruins as they head into the final four games of the season.

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(This week’s video is "Genroku Hanami Odori" by Takeshi Terauchi and The Bunnys. It’s a recording from 1967. I heard it the other morning on KXLU and thought it was really cool. I hadn’t heard it before. It’s a Japanese take on Dick Dale or The Ventures – surf music. I hope you like it.)

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 7:09 pm …

Waited until the last minute to write this post, because quite honestly I don’t really have much new to say at this point. I’m not going to write another existential manifesto about what it all means. I’m not going to write another lament about the football team. You don’t want to read it and I really don’t want to find that place inside myself. I really just want to watch the rest of the Cavaliers (Kevin Love) – Knicks (Travis Wear) game, then watch the Clippers (Matt Barnes, Jordan Farmar) play Oklahoma City (Russell Westbrook) on TNT (Reggie Miller). As I type this, New York leads Cleveland 80-81.

I watched last week’s football game in a bar in Marina Del Rey, one of a couple of spots in the neighborhood that has the Pac 12 channel. I’ve watched games there before and usually there is a pretty decent Bruin contingent. (Why is Kevin Love wearing number "0"?) Not NFL on Sunday crowded but a couple of dozen people in Blue and Gold crowded. Not last week, though. There were a total of four Bruins planted in front of the big screen: me, a couple of older dudes and one young woman. That’s it. They had the UCLA game on the big screen and I swear there were more people in maize and blue and green and white watching the Michigan-Michigan State game than there was watching the UCLA game. There were at least two tables full of beer pitchers and wings camped in front of the Wolverines-Spartans game. (The highlight of my day might have been when the bartender informed me that the cook had made an extra batch of wings and they were mine if I wanted them. I wanted them.)

All I remember about the game is that we jumped out to a 17 point lead, then slowly let Colorado back in until they finally tied it up and we ended up winning in overtime. (Knicks just beat the Cavaliers … Clippers up next.) I really can’t remember how it happened, just that Brett Hundley had a couple of nice runs in the second OT and we won by three.

The really funny thing is that I watched the whole game twice. That’s right. For a variety of reasons, my family wasn’t able to watch the game live with me (wife doesn’t like sitting in bars for four hours; kids had to work) so we got my parents to record the game and we headed out to the ‘burbs to watch it at their place. So, I sat quietly and endured the whole thing a second time, making it a point to stay neutral the whole time because only I knew how the game was going to go and I didn’t want to wreck the ending for them. Wouldn’t you know it, the recording cut off right after Colorado hit made their second field goal of overtime, so we didn’t even get to see Hundley’s final touchdown run. We were done in by that long injury delay during the overtime. Anyway, I watched the whole game twice – eight shitty hours of boring football – and now it’s five days later and I really don’t remember much. After we got that early lead, it’s just a gray haze of idiotic penalties, bad passes, uninteresting play calls and uninspired defense until we finally put the Buffs away.

I’ve been trying to come up with something to say about tomorrow’s game and the only thing I’ve got is this: I don’t like the Rich Rodriguez-Jeff Ulbrich match up at all. Rich Rod was a poor fit at Michigan, but that aside I’ve been a Rodriguez fan since time at West Virginia. I loved those Pat White/Steve Slaton/Noel Devine teams. Yeah, he left there under a cloud and like I just mentioned it didn’t work in Ann Arbor, but he seems to have it going again at Arizona. They aren’t great, but they have beaten Oregon two years in a row and Jim Mora has proven that at this point his teams don’t even belong on the same field as the Ducks. I know that the transitive property doesn’t work in sports, but let’s put it this way: it’s not a good sign.

Signage aside, the Arizona game is a must win if this season is to avoid becoming a complete failure of reasonable expectations. A loss tomorrow would be a third straight home defeat … with USC and Stanford left on the home schedule (not to mention a trip to Seattle next week).

Point is, we’re 6-2, an ugly 6-2 but 6-2 nonetheless and the year would still be salvageable is we manage to win out. Problem is, it’s just as easy to make the case for 0-4 as it is to make the case for 4-0. In fact, I made the case for 0-4 to Nestor offline during the week and while he didn’t quite agree with me, and I wasn’t sure I was right by any means, it’s definitely not inconceivable that we don’t win another game this year. We simply haven’t played well enough, even against the worst teams on our schedule to be sure we can beat anyone left on the slate.

At least we’re bowl eligible, right?

(Clippers leading the Thunder at halftime, 46-41.)

And with that, here are your Pregame Guesses, Arizona Wildcats edition:

  1. What number will be higher: UCLA penalty yards or Paul Perkins rushing yards?
  2. True or False: UCLA will score on their first possession of the second half.
  3. What will UCLA's record be in their last four games of the season?