It has been a pleasure seeing Ka'imi Fairbairn develop into one of the top kickers in the college game. Many were not sure after the first few kicks of his college career, which were disastrous. He has gone from "not being sure if he was the answer at kicker for four years" during his freshman year, to "a serviceable PAC 12 kicker" in his sophomore year, to "very solid inside 40 yards but cannot make the long kick in his junior year," to a complete kicker this season, his senior year. He holds the UCLA record for longest field goal at 60 yards and consistently puts kick-offs into the end zone. Oh, and he's a Lou Groza Award semi-finalist.
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A half hour Foo Fighters special came on Palladia (a cool music televsion channel) a couple of nights ago. It consisted of five or six videos of some of their biggest hits (Learning to Fly, Everlong, etc.). One of their newer songs of which I was aware hit me in a different way than it had in the past.
In the the song, "Best of You," Dave Grohl is constantly singing/screaming "is someone getting the best, the best, the best of you?" That is the major lyric throughout the song. It seemed to me like it was a song about taking punishment or losing out. I never though of the song as a motivational song or a song about overcoming adversity until I "saw" some of the lyrics (much of the video is a close up of Grohl's mouth against the microphone) that I didn't really pay attention to in the past. I think a lot of it applies to Ka'imi and his growth and perseverance over the last four years.
I was too weak to give in
Too strong to lose
My heart is under arrest again
But I break loose
My head is giving me life or death
But I can't choose
I swear I'll never give in
Here's the video:
The Foo Fighters rock, and have been doing so for over twenty years. Can't believe it's been that long. Another lyric:
Everyone's got their chains to break
Were you born to resist or be abused?
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Ka'imi has been the theme of Pregame Guesses, so it makes sense to honor his senior season with the first Pregame Guess. Many of you may play fantasy football (FFB). Old school FFB, not Draft Kings or Fan Duel daily FFB. Pretend that Ka'imi is your FFB kicker this week. We'll use the rules by which my league operates. Field goals 40 yards and under are worth 3 points, field goals between 41 and 50 yards are worth 4 points, and field goals 51 yards or longer are worth 5 points. Extra points are worth one point. Any missed field goal or missed extra point is minus one point. PREGAME GUESS NUMBER 1: Using this system, how many FFB points will Ka'imi rack up this weekend?
The Cougars are #109 (out of 117) in rushing defense, allowing an average of 205.4 yards per game on the ground. The Bruins, of course, have one of the best running backs--if not the top running back--in the PAC 12 in Paul Perkins, and a great compliment of supplementary backs who can hurt an opponent in different ways. UCLA is #33 in the nation in rushing, averaging 198 yards per game. That seems like a great match-up. Furthermore, I am not sure if UCLA wants to get into a shootout with Wazzu. Although I think the Bruins could well win in a shootout, it might behoove them to keep the ball on the ground a bit more. Will they? PREGAME GUESS NUMBER 2: Will UCLA rush for more than 250 yards in this game?
Once again, penalties have plagued UCLA this season. Although it seems that the bruins are not committing the "drive killers" they did in the past three seasons, they still rank tied for #122 in penalties per game (8.44) and #119 in penalty yardage per game (77.33). That having been said, last week's game was a bit better, and most if not all of the false start penalties appear to have been caused by illegal simulations of the snap court by Oregon State, and the SPTRs didn't bother to call the Beavers on it. With Wazzu's high powered offense, every drive will count. UCLA cannot afford drive killers. Will the Bruins be able to "clean up" the penalties as Coach Mora has preached ad nauseam? PREGAME GUESS NUMBER 3: How many penalties will UCLA commit ON OFFENSE this game and how many first downs (or touchdowns) will it cost them?
BONUS GUESS: It is the last home game of the season and senior night. Although the 7:45 p.m. kickoff is terrible for an east coaster like me, I expect it is great for those who want to tailgate all day--or is it too late for the PTers too? In any event, it is an important game against a quality opponent and the last home game of the season. Will the Bruins draw at least 80,000 to the Rose Bowl?
And, this week we are adding a new feature to Pregame Guesses. Use the Crowd's Line widget to predict the score of tomorrow's game. After you enter your prediction, it will compare your guess to the rest of Bruins Nation as well as CougCenter, the SB Nation Washington State site, and some other predictions.
That's it for this week's Pregame Guesses. I hope you an enjoyed the article. Please make your guesses or give us your thoughts in the comments below.