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Merry Christmas from Bruins Nation!

May you and your family have a very happy holiday!

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Christmas has finally arrived. This morning, the eyes of millions of children across the country and, indeed. around the world will awake to the wonder and joy that Christmas brings.

On behalf of all of us here at Bruins Nation, we would like to extend our wishes for a joyful holiday season for you, your family and your friends. May you enjoy the day off from work and we hope that Santa brings you everything you’re hoping for.

Speaking of hope, for many, Christmas is a holiday of hope. The hope that the birth of a child brought to millions around the world.

While we are always quick to acknowledge that “hope is not a strategy,” the world would be certainly be a less pleasant place without it. So, unwrap those presents, take down the stockings, and enjoy whatever traditions you and your family enjoy most, all while waiting for this evening’s game between the Lakers and the Warriors.

Before I go this morning, I want to let you know that I managed to sneak into Santa’s Workshop recently and managed to sneak a peak at the big guy’s naughty and nice lists. Amazingly enough, there was a whole section of the list featuring some of the individuals we write about here with frequency.

So, without any further delay, here’s this year’s naughty and nice list.

Miss Val: I can’t think of a better way to start of the nice list. Miss Val won a seventh national title in 2018 and, later, announced that she will retire after the 2019 season. Seven national titles earns you a permanent spot on the Bruins Nation nice list.

The UCLA gymnastics team: Their come-from-behind national championship may have been the story of the year in UCLA athletics. When you bring home a natty, you immediately make the nice list! And, Peng-Peng Lee’s finish certainly earned her immediate Bruin Legend status.

Stein Metzger and the UCLA beach volleyball team: Much like gymnastics, the beach volleyball team also won a national championship in 2018 with a come-from-behind victory. While not as quite as dramatic as gymnastics, it was one of the best moments of the year.

Chip Kelly and the UCLA football team: Well, an 0-6 start almost got the UCLA Bruins put onto the naughty list. But, when you beat Southern Cal and help keep them from going to a bowl game, that earns a spot on the nice list. At the same time, we’re hoping that Chip gets to unwrap some four-star and five-star recruits soon. We also feel compelled to let him know that 3-9 with a win over Southern Cal might not get him on the nice list next season.

Michael Sealy: The first losing season in the history of UCLA women’s volleyball program doesn’t just earn you a spot on the naughty list. It also earns you some lumps of coal in your stocking.

Amanda Cromwell and UCLA women’s soccer: It seemed like this year’s team was on the NCAA naughty list with their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. While this year’s team fell short of making the College Cup, these ladies continue to be some of the best representatives of excellence that UCLA has to offer. That earns them a spot on the nice list.

Jorge Salcedo: If we’re looking at this year versus last year, it would seem like Salcedo should earn a spot on the nice list, but we’re still skeptical about the future of UCLA men’s soccer under his leadership after this season, especially after losing five of the final six games of the season including a first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament. So, he’s on the naughty list again this year.

John Speraw and UCLA men’s volleyball: This team had an impressive run in the NCAA Tournament before running into the buzzsaw that was Long Beach State. Despite that, these Bruins fought hard and forced the 49ers to five sets in an epic National Championship match. So, while falling short of a national title, we have to applaud the way these guys represented UCLA all season long. We hope the experience allows you to unwrap a title this coming season. They make the nice list.

Offensive Coordinator/Line Coach Justin Frye: What UCLA nice list would be complete without Justin Frye? He came in this season and took a unit that had been much-maligned and was expected to be one of the worst on the Bruin football team and built it into one of the strongest units. ‘Nuff said.

Steve Alford: Your handling of the Pierre Pierce incident at Iowa and failure to apologize for ten years probably qualifies you for the permanent naughty list with any school you ever coach at but, if we’re just looking at what you did this year, there’s still plenty to put you on the naughty list. For starters, there’s your team’s performance on the court. You don’t make the nice list by consistently having some of the best recruiting classes in the country and watching them underperform, but that’s what you’ve accomplished consistently at UCLA including this season. But, more than that, the verbal middle finger you gave to UCLA Bruins alums, fans and donors after Saturday’s loss to Ohio State with your “audience of one” comment puts you at the top of our naughty list this year, beating out every other person on that list, and that’s a tough task.

Dan Guerrero: You would have made the nice list last year for the hiring of Chip Kelly if we had been able to sneak into Santa’s Workshop last year, but I couldn’t get in. I did get in there this year and the big guy’s got you back on the naughty list this year because you didn’t fire Steve Alford last year and you missed your last opportunity to make the nice list yesterday by failing to fire Alford after Saturday’s loss to Ohio State. There is good news here, however. You are our prime candidate for the nice list in 2019! There are only two things you need to do to accomplish that:

  1. Fire Steve Alford.
  2. Announce your retirement.

Frankly, you can probably make it by doing just one of these two, but both would make you a lock.

Chancellor Gene Block: Your failure to hold Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott accountable for the state of the conference earns you a spot on the naughty list. For someone who seems to like Dan Guerrero because he is a “good financial manager”, we’d expect that you would want to reign in the profligate spending Commissioner Scott has been doing. Like Dan Guerrero, you are a prime candidate to make the 2019 nice list. All you have to do is retire soon enough to allow the next chancellor to pick Dan Guerrero’s replacement.

2018 Bruins Nation Grinch Award

And, finally, we come to the final person on the naughty list. This individual has earned the 2018 Bruins Nation Grinch Award. This is being awarded to person who most embodies the attributes attributed to the Grinch. To quote “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” the three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote ‘Stink, stank, stunk’!

The 2018 Grinch Award is hereby presented to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott for the job he has done running the Pac-12.

Did we miss someone important or obvious? Please add them or your other thoughts in the comments below.

Merry Christmas to all, and....

Go Bruins!