During the game last night, Dimitri and I were sitting there in the Rose Bowl (because our seats are in the same section and he stopped by on his way back up to his) and we were wondering just how long it’s been since UCLA has won three straight. This morning, I have an answer: Four years.
That’s how long it’s been since the Bruins won three games in a row. In fact, during the 2015 season, the UCLA Bruins had two winning streaks of at least three games.
The last winning streak started after the team lost to Stanford. In fact, UCLA beat UC Berkeley at the Rose Bowl on a Thursday, 40-24. The Bruins followed that with a 35-31 win over the Colorado Buffaloes nine days later. Then, on November 7, UCLA blanked Oregon State, 41-0.
Earlier that season, UCLA started out with a four-game winning streak when they beat Virginia, 34-16, UNLV 37-3, BYU, 24-23, and Arizona, 56-30.
Speaking of Arizona, did you catch SNL’s Weekend Update making fun of the Wildcats last night? Apparently, the school wants to go by UArizona because UA and U of A doesn’t generate good enough search engine results. Instead, search engines spit out references to Under Armour and United Airlines first.
So, the Cats now want to go by UArizona.
SNL’s Colin Jost made fun of it last night by telling this joke:
Is it just me, or does the “UArizona” sound like the punchline to a joke about Arizona stereotypes?
Like, “If you ever got a DUI in a golf car, you Arizona.”
But I digress.
But, since I am discussing Arizona, do you think that, after firing Marcel Yates as his defensive coordinator, promoting Chuck Cecil and still getting beaten badly, Kevin Sumlin might just want to consider taking the Washington Redskins job if it’s offered?
Alright, that’s enough UArizona bashing for now, but we’ll resume bashing U of A in time for basketball season. After all, Sean Miller is still their basketball coach despite a tearful goodbye to the Wildcat Faithful at the end of last season.
Back to the Bruins....
After the game, as I was walking out of the stadium, I ran into AnteatersandBruins and her family. We both observed that the Bruins are finally starting to look like a football team again.
Are there areas where UCLA can get better? Absolutely.
I’d still like to see Matt Lynch return as JJ Molson’s holder.
It would also be nice if Chip Kelly could find a way to put Joshua Kelley and Demetric Felton on the field at the same time.
But, let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good.
The fact of the matter is that, at the start of the season, my expectations for this team were such that I thought 6-6 was the best case scenario and, now, rather remarkably, considering how many of us, myself included thought that this team might be headed to a 1-11 season after the loss to Oregon State.
If the Bruins can find a way to win two of their last three games, they will finish the year bowl-eligible. Who among us would have thought this team could possibly have a chance to do that after the Oregon State loss?
Sure, at this point in the season, it’s easy to look back now and say that this team should have been able to beat both Arizona, Oregon State and maybe even San Diego State, but you can’t go back and change what happened.
So far during this winning streak, the Bruins have managed to prove themselves each week. While the Stanford win felt like it could be a tease and many of us thought the team would revert back to its previous self after ending the Cardinal’s winning streak. the ending of that streak was that week’s accomplishment.
Last week, they showed they can beat a Top 25 team. Even if the Sun Devils were overrated, and they clearly were, it doesn’t take away that accomplishment.
Last night, they proved they can beat a senior quarterback and shut down one of the top receivers in the conference.
UCLA’s next challenge will be to shut down Utah running back Zach Moss and overcome the adversity of a November game in Salt Lake City. Stopping Moss seems doable given how this team has been solid all season when it comes to defending the run. Winning the game certainly won’t be easy, but UCLA’s pattern of frequent substitutions should help lessen the effects of the altitude by keeping the players fresh throughout the game. That won’t do anything to compensate for any weather-related issues, but, at least there’s no snow in the forecast at this point.
There’s one thing that is certain as the Bruins head into what Chip Kelly likes to call “Improvement Week” and that UCLA’s next game is the biggest game of the season.