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Grading Guerrero, Part 1 - The Crosstown Cup

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UCLA's Crosstown Cup victory this season marked its second win in the past three years, but how has UCLA fared in the competition in the 13 years that Dan Guerrero has been in charge of the program?

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"Achieving head-to-head excellence over our crosstown rival is what this friendly yet competitive endeavor is all about. I am extremely proud of our UCLA student-athletes and coaches for the hard work and dedication it took to help us capture the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup. Congratulations to all on a job well-done, and Go Bruins!"  - Dan Guerrero

As I reported in May, UCLA won the 2014-15 Crosstown Cup competition. The final score was closer than expected considering the fact that the Bruins jumped out to an 80-20 lead before results from spring sports fell heavily in favor of USC.

UCLA Athletics announced the triumph as soon as the Trojans were eliminated from the NCAA Women's Tennis tournament. Although the possibility of a tie still existed depending on the outcome of the baseball season, the Bruins held the tiebreaker and therefore wasted no time in declaring victory.

Dan Guerrero's statement about the Crosstown Cup triumph was standard fare: it mentioned the sponsors of the Cup and acknowledged the accomplishments of UCLA's student-athletes and coaches. It also stressed the importance of "achieving head-to-head excellence over our crosstown rival." What it failed to mention, however, is how rarely UCLA has managed to win the competition.

The table below shows the results of the Crosstown Cup competition since its inception in 2001. Originally the competition was called the Lexus Gauntlet, but as the sponsorship has changed or lapsed, the name has changed accordingly. And as you will surmise from the scores, the scoring system has changed over the years as well.

In the first two years of the competition, the score was tied at the end of the athletic season, so tiebreakers came into play. In 2001-02, the winner was determined by the first tiebreaker: regular season head-to-head wins; in 2002-03, the winner was decided by the second tiebreaker: postseason head-to-head wins.

Season
Winner
Score
2001-02 USC 55 - 55
2002-03 UCLA 55 - 55
2003-04 USC 57.5 - 52.5
2004-05 UCLA 67.5 - 42.5
2005-06 USC 60 - 50
2006-07 UCLA 72.5 - 37.5
2007-08 USC 67.5 - 42.5
2008-09 USC 65 - 45
2009-10 USC 65 - 45
2010-11 USC 72.5 - 37.5
2011-12 USC 62.5 - 47.5
2012-13 UCLA 65 - 50
2013-14 USC 60 - 55
2014-15 UCLA 95 - 85

As the table shows, UCLA has won the Crosstown Cup just five times in 14 seasons. Since Dan Guerrero became UCLA's AD in 2002, he bears no responsibility for the first of the Bruins' nine losses, but by the same token, he probably deserves very little credit for UCLA's victory in 2002-03 given that he'd had little impact on the program at that point.

However, so that there can be no accusations that I am treating Guerrero unfairly in this analysis, giving him full credit for the victory in his first year leaves him with a record of 5-8 in the competition, corresponding to a .385 winning percentage. To put that into perspective, one of the most irrelevant programs I can think of--USC basketball--has a .396 winning percentage over the last three seasons. Or perhaps it's more appropriate to use an example from baseball, Dan Guerrero's own sport. The most pathetic team in Major League Baseball last season was the Arizona Diamondbacks, yet they managed a .395 winning percentage.

Compiling Dan Guerrero's Crosstown Cup win-loss record and calculating his winning percentage is an objective exercise. Evaluating his performance on the basis of those facts is subjective, however. Some supporters might judge a .500 winning percentage against USC as a success, whereas I'd be inclined to rate that result as mediocre at best. In my opinion, "just keeping up with USC" shouldn't be considered an acceptable performance. But in the interest of diminishing the impact of my bias in this evaluation, I'll assign a C grade to a winning percentage of .500.

Based on that standard, UCLA's victory in the Crosstown Cup this season raises Dan Guerrero's 13 year Crosstown Cup grade to a D.

Considering the fact that I've given Guerrero full credit for the Crosstown Cup win in his first season in charge, his woeful results in the competition since then put his D grade closer to an F than a C, in my estimation.

Again, grading is subjective, so I've added a poll to give the Bruins Nation community the opportunity to evaluate Dan Guerrero's performance in the Crosstown Cup. Please limit your evaluation to Crosstown Cup results only, and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Go BRUINS!