When I volunteered to take responsibility for this week's Pregame Guesses, I knew that it would be wise to seek advice in selecting music. It's not that I was worried about choosing a song that wouldn't meet the approval of the Bruins Nation community. Actually, I was concerned about disappointing just one person in particular: my father.
My dad (Class of '73) has been a Bruins Nation junkie for nine years at least. He probably started reading Bruins Nation before that, but the first time he mentioned it to me was in 2006 after I'd left home for college. Bruins Nation helped to fuel his UCLA obsession when I was no longer around to join him on weekend pilgrimages to Westwood or to talk about anything and everything related to UCLA sports during dinner. Unfortunately, he's never participated in the conversations here in spite of my encouragement.
Over the years, several regular features have become favorites of his, including Pregame Guesses. I know that he really enjoyed reading Achilles' Pregame Guesses, and so did I. Achilles has a lovely style of writing, and he always had thoughtful things to say about the state of UCLA Football. Last week, orlandobruin did a great job of starting a new era of Pregame Guesses, but this week it's my turn, so I decided to seek some old school music advice from my father. Here's how the relevant part of our conversation went:
Me: Hey Dad, I want to get your opinion about ... a song.
Dad: Ok, sure!
Me: I'm writing the Pregame Guesses article this week and I need...
Dad: "Sin City."
Me: ... to pick a song that fits the theme...
Dad: "Sin City"--AC/DC.
Me: Yeah, I know it's by AC/DC. I was thinking of developing a different theme based on...
Dad: No, you should go with "Sin City." It's the perfect song.
♫ I got a burnin' feeling
Deep inside of me
It's a yearnin'
But I'm gonna set it free
I'm goin' in
To sin city
I'm gonna win
In sin city
Where the lights are bright
Do the town tonight
I'm gonna win
In sin city
Let me roll ya baby ♫
Me: Is that your way of getting back at eavesdroppers?
Dad: Trust me, it's the right song. You can put the blame on me if they don't like it.
Me: Can I put that in the article as a disclaimer?
Dad: Yeah, sure.
So there you have it... As chosen by my father, AC/DC and "Sin City."
Although I heard "Sin City" plenty of times during road trips with my father, the song predates me by very nearly a decade. The song was released back in 1978 on AC/DC's "Powerage" album, which wasn't one of the band's best albums, but it featured a couple of great songs in "Up to My Neck in You" and "Down Payment Blues." "Powerage" was one of a couple hundred cassette tapes that my father toted around in his car back in the '90s, so it's part of the soundtrack to my childhood memories of weekend trips to watch UCLA football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.
Before I turn to the pregame guesses, I want to take a moment to take a look back at Achilles' thoughts on the state of UCLA football a year ago as the Bruins were about to begin the Pac-12 portion of their schedule after beating Texas:
The Jim Mora saga is still being written at UCLA. I'm not sure how the story is going to end. But I have no problem saying that I hope Mora makes it. Great coach? Not sure yet. Good man? Yeah, I think so, yes.
I'm no different than the rest of you. I see things on the field I like and things I don't like. I'm not sure how this all plays out.
If nothing else, I really like the way this team carries itself. The team is tough. The kids are well spoken. They're tough, but they eschew bravado.
There is an all-businesslike quality to the way they play football. The players are kids, but they possess a certain maturity. They let things go, whether it's a penalty, a turnover, a bad break, an injury - even a defeat.
I'm not all in yet. There are still flaws. But there are intangibles that this team possesses, qualities that have been instilled since Mora became head coach that I don't recall seeing in all too many prior UCLA football teams.
A lot has changed since then, but Achilles' assessment is still accurate, I think. The Jim Mora saga is still being written at UCLA, and how the next chapter of that saga reads depends on how this team develops and adapts to challenges. How will the defensive line evolve without Eddie Vanderdoes? Will Myles Jack add the role of defensive leader to his résumé? How will Josh Rosen respond to his early success and the resulting national attention? Can the offensive line stay healthy and become a dominant unit?
Obviously I don't have the answers to those questions, but I'm excited about learning the answers as the season progresses. I'm optimistic. I like the direction of the program. But as we saw during the Howland era, a program's trajectory can quickly turn and go in unexpected and undesirable directions.
Tomorrow we'll get another piece of the saga when the Bruins are in Sin City for a night game against UNLV. There will be a large contingent from Bruins Nation at Sam Boyd Stadium--hopefully they will be part of a sea of blue that washes away UNLV's dreams of a "blackout." But most importantly, let's hope they return home safely with stories of a great victory in the desert.
On to the pregame guesses, UCLA in Vega$ edition ...
1. True or false: Paul Perkins' total rushing yards will be greater than the maximum temperature in Las Vegas on game day.
2. Will UCLA score more points on PATs or field goals?
3. Which will be higher: the total number of penalties that the Bruins are assessed OR the number of times that UCLA kicks off?
Also, I've added a poll to this week's pregame guesses with a question that isn't specific to tomorrow's game against UNLV. If you choose "other" as your answer, please identify the player in your comment.
Now, let's go get a big win in Sin City! Go BRUINS!