Greetings Bruins. Welcome to this week's Pregame Guesses. This has been a tough week for us as fans of the UCLA Football team. We first learned that our top cornerback, Fabian Moreau, is gone for the season on Tuesday. But, we also learn that Ishmael Adams is reinstated, so that bad news is blunted bit, although losing Moreau is a huge blow.
The next day, however, our worst nightmares came to fruition.
We were debating last week whether is was worth it for Myles Jack to play offense or return just one kickoff a game, or was the risk of injury too great. Well, was it worth it for Myles to practice? Because that's how we lost him. Non-contact drills. Pooof, just like that. I saw the early tweets and hoped it was just guys reacting to the loss of Moreau. That had to be it, right? Then I saw it was an injury to Myles. Then I saw, not just an injury . . . OUT FOR THE SEASON. Talk about a punch to the gut. We ALL felt it. It case a pallor over the day and on our hopes of competing for the PAC 12 Championship or more. So here we are, two days later, one day before our conference opener on prime time national TV.
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Yet again, I struggle with the song selection. Part of me thought of "Battered Bruin Syndrome," and selecting Local H's mid-nineties hit, "Bound for the Floor." No. Wrong. No excuses. "Next man up." Perseverance. That is what our Bruins need to do tomorrow and for the rest of the season. Persevere. It has been defined as "to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty." I thought about a song that came out when I was at UCLA and, in fact, the album upon which it was released was oft listened to among my crew during the second half of my UCLA experience. I wasn't really a huge fan of this band before this album, but since that time I have come to experience a lot of their older stuff, and really enjoy their music. This week's song, by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is "I Won't Back Down," off the "Full Moon Fever" album, released in 1989:
Yeah, it was a huge commercial success. Yeah, it was more "lightweight" than some of their earlier stuff. Yeah, it isn't "edgy." But the song reminds me of UCLA, is an excellent tune IMHO, and fits PERFECTLY for this week.
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down
Myles Jack could do it all on defense. Tackles, sacks, passes defensed, INTs. You name it. So here is PREGAME GUESS #1: Which "next man up" will step it up tomorrow in Myles Jack's absence? More particularly, which "new" player will have the highest amount of the combination of the following defensive stats: tackles, TFLs (counts as a tackle and TFL, so double points), sacks (double points for the same reason), passes defensed, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries (double points for the turnover), and INTs (double points for the turnover). Only certain players are eligible: non-starters and some of the guys who have gotten play recently. Guys like Jayon Brown, Cameron Judge, Denzel Fisher, Isaako Savaiinaea (he would have been the right answer to this guess after last week's performance), Kene Orjioke, Aaron Wallace (even though he is a senior). Obviously guys who have played less than those. Ish too, since he hasn't played this season. Since the D line is so heavy on rotation, none of those guys are defined as "new" for the purposes of this guess, except Tuioti-Mariner. So no Takk, Dickerson. Who will be the "next man up"?
OK. That was complicated. Perhaps overly so. Sorry. Here's a much more direct one. PREGAME GUESS #2: This game features the sixth and seventh best rushers in the nation, based on yardage, in Nick Wilson and Paul Perkins, respectively. Who will rush for more yards tomorrow?, Wilson or The Perkinator?
Arizona has the fourth highest scoring offense in the country, at over 54 points per game. They done it against two defenses ranked below #100 in FBS, and one defense ranked in the #80s in FCS. PREGAME GUESS #3 may be a two part question, depending on your first answer: Will Arizona score at least 33 points tomorrow (3 TDs less than their average)? If they do, will be Bruins score 34 or more? (FYI, the Vega$ over/under for this game is 66 points).
BONUS GUESS: I almost forgot about Game Day. Game Day. Frankly, not a fan. I was 10 years ago but the schtick got old. I'd rather watch EPL on Saturday mornings until the first games kick off at noon ET. But, they are in Tucson tomorrow and so are the Bruins so I guess its a "big deal." We are primetime, ABC which means we get Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstriet. My two favorite guys. How many times will the subject of Myles Jack's injury and/or absence be discussed between the two of them during different parts of the broadcast. I am setting the over/under at 6. The crew will discuss Myles on separate occasions at least 6 times. Higher or lower?
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Pregame Guesses. List your answers or any comments you might have in the thread below.
Cautiously optimistic Go Bruins!!!