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Celebrating the Crosstown Cup is Like Hanging NIT Banners

It’s ALWAYS great to beat Southern Cal, but it’s time to focus on beating Stanford to National Championship #114.

Celebrating 113 in the pool!
UCLA has not won an NCAA Championship since Men’s Water Polo in December 2015.
Joe Piechowski

With a sweep of Southern Cal in baseball, UCLA clinched the Crosstown Cup on May 6, with a score of 105-85. The Crosstown Cup is based on the scores in 19 sports, and the winner in each head-to-head competition gets 10 points. In sports that don’t face head-to-head competition (track and field, for example), the highest finisher in Pac 12 play gets the points.

According to Fox Sports, “UCLA earned maximum points in women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s cross country, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s volleyball, women’s golf, men’s track & field and baseball. Five points were earned by women’s tennis, women’s water polo and men’s tennis”.

Dan Guerrero was extremely proud of his Bruins. He told Fox Sports, “I’m so proud of the hard work and dedication it took from our student-athletes and coaches to help us win this year’s Crosstown Cup. In what has become one of the most storied rivalries in collegiate athletics, UCLA facing USC always seems to bring out the best in both teams, particularly from a competitive standpoint. For our program to have secured its second Crosstown Cup in the last three years is a terrific accomplishment.”

Here is the video from UCLA Athletics:

But, hold on there, Dan.

Are you aware that Stanford just tied UCLA at 113 national championships?

Don’t get me wrong—Bruins Nation is always proud when UCLA beats Southern Cal in ANYTHING and in EVERYTHING. The Crosstown Cup is a fine event and it’s nice that we’ve won the last three of five. But the First to 100 and Most National Championships campaign is about to come to a close. One more natty and Stanford will take sole possession of the lead.

Tell me Dan—what have you done to make sure UCLA stays #1? Hired better coaches? Fired the ones that need to go? Give the coaches we have the necessary resources to bring in the best athletes possible? Make sure the university administration appreciates the contributions student-athletes make to UCLA while at the same time earning a degree? While the celebration of the Crosstown Cup is understandable, what are we doing to maintain the prestige of the four letters? Not enough, if you ask me.

We have a football program that was on the brink of collapse last year, while Stanford’s program has been on the rise (and rather quickly) over the last ten years. And don’t tell me Andrew Luck was an anomaly. While they have not won a national championship in football since 1940, they have been in the national conversation. They have certainly had UCLA’s number for the entire Jim Mora era. And, they have won three Pac 12 titles recently while we haven’t had one since 1998. Since we tend to focus a lot on the sports that make the most money, let’s turn our attention to all other sports.

Stanford has won at least one NCAA team championship each year for 41 consecutive years, starting in 1976-77 and continuing through 2016-17. This is the longest streak in the NCAA and during this streak they have won 99 championships. These championships include cross country, golf, gymnastics, track and field, soccer, water polo, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and more.

Stanford isn’t going anywhere. Their current athletic director, Bernard Muir, has been there since 2012, and in this time they have won 12 team national championships. Dan Guerrero has been at UCLA much longer (since 2002), but, if we look at the same time span, 2012-present, UCLA has won five team national championships. Shouldn’t Dan have UCLA more focused on winning NCAA titles? No wonder one of the top Google hits about Dan Guerrero is a Facebook page dedicated to his firing.

I love my Bruins. I will, now and forever, be a fan of UCLA athletics. But we have to face facts. The program is not getting better and others are catching up.

Go Bruins!