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The War on Error

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Dan Guerrero fiddles while Westwood burns.

Hmmm, I wonder what color the sky would be if it wasn't blue.
Hmmm, I wonder what color the sky would be if it wasn't blue.
Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA football fans have been suffering a deep sense of pervading doom and gloom, beginning early last season when we lost Myles Jack, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Fabian Moreau in short order, it grew worse with losses to ASU, and Stanford, and cemented itself with a season ending 2 game losing streak.

The post game wrap ups became bitter, bloody, and vicious affairs with long standing and well respected members attacking each other in a manner I have not ever seen here. And, I've been here since the Dump Dorrell days. Members were nearly unanimous in their belief that we should fire Noel Mazzone and company. Some had plenty left over for DC Tom Bradley, but that belief was nowhere near as universal. But, the real acrimony began with the suggestion that HC Jim Mora had hit his peak, was never going to get any better, and should be dismissed. 

Now, rumors are swirling within the Bruin Nation that a huge shake up is under way. One set of rumors has Jim Mora cleaning house, and rebuilding his coaching staff from almost the ground up. Another set of rumors, and we've heard this one almost every year of the JM era, has Mora heading back to the NFL.

During one of the recent discussions, I made the following comment about Stanford:

There are always going to be those people who poo poo the assertion that an AD can simply go out and pick up the next great coach. We call those people enablers. What I find poignant, is that at some point in the mid 90s Oregon made a conscious decision to join the ranks of the elite. At some point in the mid 00s, Stanford made the same decision. And, both teams have done very well for themselves. I don't think it takes a crystal ball to find the next great coach. I think it takes a commitment to excellence. The enablers will argue that UCLA does not have the kind of money those other schools have. And, they say this with a straight face while the university throws up $100M hotels and assorted buildings around campus. But, I have to believe that a successful football program could and should be self sustaining.

And, that got me thinking. What was the real world value, in losses, the Dan Guerrero hire has cost us?

So, I did a little digging. And, I found some things. Now, keep in mind, that Bowl revenues are split up between the teams and their respective conferences. So, while the last reported payout for the Rose Bowl was $18 Million, that $18 Million is divided among all the Pac-12 schools based on the conference revenue sharing rules. That being said, I think a side by side comparison of what the Stanfords and Oregons have done since making that commitment to excellence. I think this is particularly important, because both schools have had a history of being really bad before their current runs of excellence. I also included USC's bowl game payouts, because they are the measuring stick by which the rest of the conference will always be measured.


UCLA Bowl games
payout
Stanford Bowl Games
payout
Oregon Bowl Games
Payout
USC bowl games
payout
2000
Sun Bowl
$1,000,000
Rose Bowl
$13,500,000
Holiday Bowl
$1,900,000
2001
Seattle Bowl
$1,000,000
Fiesta Bowl
$13,500,000
Las Vegas Bowl
$1,000,000
2002
Las Vegas Bowl
$800,000
Seattle Bowl
$1,000,000
Orange Bowl
$13,500,000
2003
Silicon Valley Bowl
$750,000
Sun Bowl
$1,450,000
Rose Bowl
$14,000,000
2004
Las Vegas Bowl
$800,000
Orange Bowl
$14,000,000
2005
Sun Bowl
$1,575,000
Holiday Bowl
$2,000,000
Rose Bowl
$14,998,000
2006
Emerald Bowl
$750,000
Las Vegas Bowl
$750,000
Rose Bowl
$14,998,000
2007
Las Vegas Bowl
$750,000
Sun Bowl
$1,575,000
Rose Bowl
$14,998,000
2008
Holiday Bowl
$2,200,000
Rose Bowl
$18,000,000
2009
Eagle Bank Bowl
$1,000,000
Sun Bowl
$1,900,000
Rose Bowl
$18,000,000
Emerald Bowl
$750,000
2010
Orange Bowl
$17,000,000
BCS NC Game
$17,000,000
2011
Kraft FH Bowl
$837,500
Fiesta Bowl
$17,000,000
Rose Bowl
$17,000,000
2012
Holiday Bowl
$2,075,000
Rose Bowl
$17,000,000
Fiesta Bowl
$17,000,000
Sun Bowl
$2,000,000
2013
Sun Bowl
$2,000,000
Rose Bowl
$18,000,000
Alamo Bowl
$3,175,000
Las Vegas Bowl
$1,100,000
2014
Alamo Bowl
$3,825,000
Foster Farms Bowl
$2,212,500
CFP NC Game/ Rose
$18,000,000
Holiday Bowl
$2,825,000
2015
Foster Farms Bowl
$2,212,500
Rose Bowl
$18,000,000
Alamo Bowl
$3,825,000
Holiday Bowl
$2,825,000
TOTALS
$17,375,000
$91,112,500
$102,975,000
$113,994,000
AVERAGES
$1,085,937.50
$5,694,531.25
$6,435,937.50
$         7,124,625.00

So, first of all, a couple of things. While the spreadsheet lists bowl games and payouts going back to 2000, I only used payouts starting in 2002 when Guerrero took over, fired Toledo, and hired a guy with absolute zero head coaching experience. It still boggles the mind. Also, please note that in 2014, Oregon went to the playoffs, won their first match up and then played a second "BCS" level bowl game by playing in the National Championship. I listed a single pre playoff Rose Bowl payoff equivalent, assuming that at minimum they got that much. I would suspect they are getting a second equally large payout for appearing in the National Championship game. Also, Stanford's 2015/16 appearance in the Rose Bowl falls under similar circumstances. The bowl game payout is no longer listed and falls under the CFP bowl game distribution plan. Again, for the sake of expediency, I simply used the most recent Rose Bowl reported payout. I hope you are all as confused as I am at this point.

Right off the bat, UCLA's $17.3M during Guerrero's tenure has paled in comparison to: Stanford's $91.1M, Oregon's $102.9M, and SC's $113.9M in that time. And, that is WITH Stanford's seven year bowl absence between 2002 - 2008. In fact, the total haul over this fourteen year period is LESS than a single Rose Bowl appearance payout. Even Stanford managed a Rose Bowl appearance in 2000, and that was 7 years before Jim Harbaugh would appear on the horizon and unseat Pete Carroll as the best coach in the Pac 10/12.

About the only claim of success that can be made is that under the Jim Mora era, UCLA Football has moved the needle only SLIGHTLY better than under previous coaches. As a matter of fact, while the Morgan Center has been selling how much better we are than USC during the last four years, we are really no better when you consider the quality of bowl games each school has been invited to. In Mora's four years, we have raked in $10.1M to SC's $8.75M. But, we have trended downward, appearing in only one Holiday Bowl, while SC's is trending upwards with back to back Holiday Bowl appearance in the last two years.

I'm sure there are those who will ruin the fun by pointing out that the bowl revenues are shared. They may even be completely shared; that is to say that all bowl appearance monies generated by Pac 12 teams are pooled together then redistributed equally among all conference members. To those people I say the revenues generated are a measure of the success these teams have had. The difference in revenues generated by Stanford compared to UCLA is staggering when you consider they were completely left out of any bowl games whatsoever for seven years. The difference in revenues generated by Oregon compared to UCLA is staggering when you consider how absolutely horrid their history in football really was before they decided to do join the elites. And, it does not just end there. Baylor has a made a significant effort to join the top tier, and have made remarkable inroads. TCU. Michigan State. The list goes on.

Going back to the manner in which this season ended, the acrimony towards our coaches, and the never ending speculation over which coaches are leaving, and which coaches should be leaving; I can only conclude that regardless who leaves, Dan Guerrero cannot be allowed to make another coaching hire.