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Sunday Morning Quarterback: UCLA Football’s Problems Begin and End with AD Dan Guerrero

And, there is only one solution: Dan must go, too.

Joe Piechowski

As sure as the sun rises in the East and it sets in the West, UCLA Football gets embarassed on national television. This has become the standard for Bruin football and it happened again last night.

After the game, Jim Mora called the game a “tough loss” and said that he’s “never been through anything like this before” in reference to all the injuries that occurred last night.

Apparently, Jim Mora has a very short memory because he’s used the injury excuse before as a reason for losing as recently as just two seasons ago.

In his postgame interview, he also went through a long list of admirable traits as ways of overcoming adversity. Unfortunately, he did not include the most honorable thing he can do to help the team overcome adversity: resign.

For the most part, Mora has been a good example to his players. But, the time has come for him to do the most honorable thing possible: admit that they are better with someone else in charge of the program and step down.

While many Bruin fans are frustrated with the state of the football program by itself, this doesn’t just fall on Jim Mora.

It also fall on his boss UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero who has allowed a culture of mediocrity to exist throughout the UCLA Athletic Department. In fact, if you look at the state of the UCLA Athletic Department as a whole, it isn’t very good.

Sure, at 113, UCLA still has the most NCAA team titles along with Stanford, who tied the Bruins last year, but as TarHeelBruin pointed out in an excellent fan post, #114 is coming, just probably not to UCLA.

In the comments to TarHeel’s fan post, 4merKPer referenced a 6-year old article from BN that was written by Telemachus titled “UCLA: #1 in NCAA Team Championships (But For How Long?)”. 4merKPer included two charts from Telemachus’ article which showed the total number of NCAA titles for UCLA, Stanford and Southern Cal along with a 10-year moving average.

That graph showed that UCLA peaked above 2.5 per year in 2004 and again in 2008. Unfortunately, the 10-year moving average in that particular article could not show the overall effect that Dan Guerrero has had on the UCLA Athletic Department because it only goes up to 2011 and Guerrero had not yet been the AD for ten years at that point in time.

So, since it’s been a while, it’s time we update the charts.

First, let’s look at the total number of NCAA Team Championships.

Chart by Joe Piechowski

What’s interesting to note from this chart is that UCLA had 18 more NCAA team championships than Southern Cal after the 2007-08 school year. Today, the Bruins lead by just 10. If UCLA doesn’t improve, Southern Cal will likely pass UCLA in the next ten years.

Let’s look at a slightly shorter timeframe. Let’s look at the past six school years.

Chart by Joe Piechowski

The most notable thing in this chart is Southern Cal’s upward trend. Since September 2014, the Trojans have won twice as many (6) national championships as UCLA (3). UCLA now only has a 10-title lead over Southern Cal.

But, the number of titles do not illustrate the overall trend. So let’s look at the 10-year moving average of titles per year. We’ll start with a chart that shows the 10-year moving average since 2002.

Chart by Joe Piechowski

From 2004-05 until 2009-10, UCLA average between 2.4 and 2.6 titles per year. Now, that was helped in large part to the fact that UCLA had won 4 titles per year in 1999-00 and 2000-01 school years. Of course, it was also helped by 4 titles in 2002-03, 3 in 2003-04 and 4 more in 2004-05. Those were the first three years of Dan Guerrero’s tenure. But, since 2004-05, UCLA has won at least three titles only once and that was back in 2007-08. And, since that year, UCLA has won more than one title in a school year only twice in 2009-10 and 2014-15. That has cut UCLA’s 10-year moving average in half from 2.6 in 2008-09 to just 1.3 after 2016-17.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, let’s look at what I’m going to call “The Guerrero Effect.”

Why the Guerrero Effect? Because this chart looks at UCLA’s 10-year moving average of national championships per year with all 10 years belonging to Dan Guerrero.

The Guerrero Effect on UCLA’s National Championships
Chart by Joe Piechowski

UCLA’s 10-year moving average of national championships per year has dropped precipitously under Dan Guerrero. 2011-2012 is the first year where the 10-year moving average includes only years that Guerrero has been UCLA AD and, rather unremarkably, it is the high point of his tenure at 2.2 per year. Since then, UCLA’s 10-year moving average has fallen by almost a full championship per year to 1.3.

It’s an embarassing and telling trend for UCLA Athletics, but not surprising. It is the result of Dan Guerrero managing fans expectations for 15 years.

Is it also the result of years of bad football? Sure. Because football funds the rest of the department.

So, Guerrero’s mismanagement of football and the entire UCLA Athletic Department have gone hand-in-hand to create a culture of mediocrity.

It is time that it stops.

It is time for Bruin fans, alums and donors to rise up and demand better, not just from the football program, but from the entire Athletic Department and, most importantly, from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

There is a grassroots movement building, but it needs the support of every man, woman and child. The plan is to specifically target Dan Guerrero for removal.

I’m told that there will be planes and mobile billboards but, in order to succeed, it needs your support. The initial appeal was very successful very quickly, due in large part to the generous support of one individual, but more support is needed and any amount will help.

If you agree that Dan Guerrero should not decide who UCLA’s next football coach should be, I would ask that you support the cause.

If you agree that Dan Guerrero has overstayed his welcome as UCLA Athletic Director, please make a contribution.

This site has a long history of criticizing Dan Guerrero’s performance as Athletic Director, a history that certainly preceded my becoming its managing editor. We’ve never in our 12-plus year existence wavered in our insistence upon excellence from UCLA Athletics.

I’ve read all the comments. Many of you have already decided you aren’t going to renew your season tickets for next season. I would ask that you take the money you would have spent on tickets for next year and contribute to the effort to dump Dan now.

Go Bruins.