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“TOP OF THE WORLD, CRAW!!”

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Blue and Gold White Heat — Bruin Brandon Crawford gets a World Series Ring, topping a series of honors and accomplishments for several individual Bruins, several Bruin teams, and UCLA as a University, in the last two weeks, while u$c gets no love at all

Yeah, I know… James Cagney NEVER said “Top of the World, Ma!” in his classic gangster flick “White Heat.”  The actual quote is “Made it, Ma!  Top of the World!”  And Bogie never said “Play it again, Sam,” and Desi never said “Lucy, you have some esplaining to do!”  But sometimes I have to go with what people THINK is reality, as opposed to actual reality, so just go with it.  And with that said, Brandon CRAWford is on top of the World tonight, as the former Bruin Baseball Star’s San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the World Series 3-2 to become World Champions.  That makes 3 times in the last 5 years for the Giants, a fact that makes fans of their Rival L.A. Dodgers livid.  That’s the essence of a Rivalry — you have to suffer through the successes of your rival, in order to fully enjoy and appreciate their failures.  The subject of Rivalry is near and dear to my heart — and this belief is the entire premise that drives this website, and is a topic to which I will return later in this article.  But first, back to Crawford.

In Frisco’s decisive 3-2 Game 7 victory, Crawford drove in 1 of the 3 Giant runs, giving him a Series total of 4 RBI’s (I refuse to conform by saying RBI instead of RBI’s like all the announcers and reporters do now).  Only 2 Giants had 5 RBI’s in the Series, making Crawford the 3rd-highest run-producer on the team.  In addition, Crawford hit OVER .300 for the Series, collecting 7 hits.  He also got on base 3 more times, via Walks, and scored 2 Runs.  On Defense he helped turn 7 Double Plays.  Of course, SF Pitcher Madison Bumgarner was the big star and unanimous MVP, but don’t forget — without Crawford, the Giants might not have even made it out of the Wild Card Playoff, as his Grand Slam Home Run against Pittsburgh was the main reason they survived and advanced.  And now, they are all getting fitted for new RINGS.  And of course, no rings for u$c, as there are no trojans on the Giants’ roster.

Crawford wasn’t the only Bruin Star that had a good week.  From the Bruin Football Team, Linebacker Eric Kendricks was named Continue Reading »

DOUBLE-CLUTCH, DOUBLE-BARREL, DOUBLE- BYPASS!

Make Mine A Double — Brett Hundley runs for a game-winning TD in Double Overtime to help UCLA avoid the double-indignity of blowing a 17-point 4th quarter lead AND losing to lowly Colorado, then u$c, up 21-17 in Utah with just over 2 minutes to go (thanks to two Ute lost fumbles on the trojan 1-yard line), doubles down and goes for it on 4th & 2, fails, then allows the Utes to march 73 yards and score the game-winning TD on a pass with 6 seconds left for troy’s 2nd last-second defensive choke of the season

The UCLA Bruins overcame a lot on Saturday to keep their slim hopes of a successful season alive, and most of what they overcame was self-inflicted:  The Bruins committed FOURTEEN Penalties for 121 yards including 2 in a row that both negated Bruin Interceptions; Brett Hundley missed several wide open Receivers including some throws to the end zone; Hundley also lost another fumble; Mossi Johnson failed to grab a perfect long pass that went right through his arms; Anthony Jefferson got juked out of his cleats giving an easy TD to the Buffs; the Bruins blew a 4th and 1  by giving the ball to Eddie Vanderdoes instead of Myles Jack; the team got complacent when they got their third 17-point lead, 31-14 in the 4th quarter, and both Offensive and Defensive Linemen for UCLA  stopped controlling the line of scrimmage, allowing Colorado to Rush for big yards and connect on key pass plays, while on Offense the Bruins suddenly couldn’t convert to keep possession of the ball.

All this, mostly after playing well enough to be up by 17 for most of the game.  Paul Perkins started the game with a 92-yard TD run, he added a 24-yard TD run later and finished with 180 yards rushing; Hundley threw a 20-yard TD pass to Jordan Payton; and Jack scored on a tough 3-yard off-tackle run.  On Defense, the game got underway with oft-maligned Cornerback Fabian Moreau making three stellar plays, and with Linebacker Eric Kendricks leveling Buffaloes right and left.  While Moreau Continue Reading »

KICKED OUT!

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“Aaannnd… Stay Out!” — Ex-trojan LenDale White gets thrown out of the Clown College Coliseum after a fight with Pat Haden, whom he later calls a coward, adding that he is embarrassed to be a trojan

Can you believe it?  Yet ANOTHER shameful incident involving u$c Football and their joke of an Athletic Department.  The SCandals keep emerging from troy just like… you guessed it — a dozen clowns all piling out of a tiny clown car.  This time it’s former trojan Running Back LenDale White, getting into an argument with Pat Haden on the sidelines of the $c-Colorado game on Saturday, and then being escorted out of the venue during the post-game press conference.

Last week, while White was watching u$c’s Defense crumble and choke away a big lead against Arizona, he went on Twitter and criticized the Defensive Coordinator and his staff, and called for their termination, apparently in a profanity-laced rant.  A week later, he’s on the trojan sideline, rooting on those same people he was ripping a week before.  Allegedly, $c Athletic Director Pat Haden got into it with White on the sidelines, telling him he’s not welcome on the field with the team if he’s going to tear them a new one on Twitter during the road games.  They had a heated confrontation, but White was not ejected at that point.

It was AFTER the game, when Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was speaking at the post-game press conference, that White was accosted by security.  Reportedly, he wanted to enter the Presser, but he was not permitted to the Press Room.  When he became agitated over the slight, Security guards escorted White off the premises.

White claims that Haden had him ejected, but Haden Continue Reading »

¡RIOS MIO!

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Marcus Rios’ last-minute Interception saves UCLA from a season-destroying loss, as the Bruins break their 2-game losing streak — and 7-game losing streak AT Cal — by holding off the Bears 36-34

On Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, UCLA showed that they have decidedly more talent than Cal.  But more talent doesn’t always guarantee a win, as the Bruins’ 7-game, 16-year drought at Cal has proven.  UCLA has been cursed up there, with a few of those 7 losses to really bad Bear teams.  And this year, against a slightly better Bear team, the curse looked alive and well.  UCLA turned the ball over 3 times (and also turned the ball over on downs once), leading to 20 Bear points, turning what could have been a Bruin blowout into a nail-biter.

Brett Hundley threw for 330 yards and 2 TD’s (both to Running Back Paul Perkins) and ran 15 yards for another TD, as the UCLA Offense was gaining yards by the mile.  But an Interception and 2 fumbles (1 lost) by Hundley and a lost fumble by Perkins kept the Bears afloat, despite the Bruins’ 567 total yards (200 more than Cal).  A Hundley Screen Pass to Perkins for a 49-yard TD came at the end of the first half to make it 24-14 Bruins.  UCLA came in 20-0 under Jim Mora when they led at the half, and that streak stayed alive… barely.

The Bruins dominated due to their Offensive Line play,  Offensive play calling. Defensive Line play, and Defensive play calling. Continue Reading »

22 CATCHES

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Heaven and Hell(er) — The current UCLA Dance Team and Cheer Squad include 22 female angels, and every one of them is quite a catch

For a (wannabe) Writer, I have not read a lot of books.  In college I read a lot of Monarch Notes (which are like Cliff Notes) instead of reading the books.  The only actual books that I read cover-to-cover while growing up — that I remember reading — can be counted on two hands, and they include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Watership Down, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Caine Mutiny… and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, which was by far the funniest of the bunch.  It explored the ironies and contradictions of life, especially in the military, and included characters with names like Milo Minderbinder, Mjr. Major Major Major, and the aptly-named Col. Scheisskopf (which translates to Colonel Sh!thead).

As you probably know, a catch-22 is an impossible predicament, where to get something, you need to already have something else, but to get that something else, you have to already have the first something which you were trying to get in the first place.  For instance, to get a job, you need experience, but to get that experience, you need a job.  The book is full of Continue Reading »

THE UGLY DUCKING

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Oregon overwhelms out-manned UCLA 42-30, but it was 42-10 before a late 20 points made it look less ugly than it was; The Bruins out-gained the Ducks, with Paul Perkins rushing for 190 yards, but had trouble in both Red Zones, racked up 7 Penalties for 81 yards, and couldn’t stop the Duck Offense, especially with Hundley committing 2 costly Turnovers.  There was even a heated argument between Coach Mora and his D.C. on the sidelines.  At least the Bruins didn’t quit, mounting a late rally to make the score respectable

  UCLA did not play their best game on Saturday against Oregon, but even if they did, they probably wouldn’t have had enough ability on both sides of the ball to challenge the Ducks.  With Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota running the Ducks’ high-octane Offense, UCLA just didn’t have the schemes or the talent to slow them down.  After a slow start, the Ducks settled down, and were able to run at will, and were also able to complete big passes when necessary.  Myles Jack was all over the field for the Bruin D, but the Ducks eventually made him pay for his aggressiveness, as a Duck Receiver faked him out to get open behind him for a long TD reception.  The Bruin Defense was struggling so badly, Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich got in a shouting match with head Coach Jim Mora.  At one point, Ulbrich handed his play chart to Mora telling HIM to call the Defensive plays!

It was 21-3 in the 2nd Quarter before Brett Hundley ran for a score to make it 21-10 at the Half.  Then Oregon came out in the 3rd and scored 21 more without interruption, making it 42-10, basically putting the game on ice.  With the Ducks on Cruise Control on both sides of the ball, Hundley was able to direct the Bruins to 3 TD drives in a 2-miute span of the 4th Quarter, the drives culminated by a TD run by Nathan Starks and two TD passes to Jordan Payton, but the Ducks’ victory was never in serious jeopardy.

Hundley got sacked only twice, but on one of them, he was blindsided and fumbled.  That led to a short field for the Ducks, and their first TD of the game.  Later on, Hundley threw an Interception that gave the Ducks great field position again.  Even with Paul Perkins gaining a remarkable 190 yards on the ground and even with Hundley adding 119 rushing yards of his own (minus 30 in losses for a net of 89), it wasn’t enough to overcome 7 Penalties including 4 Personal Fouls and the 2 Turnovers.

No shame in losing to the formerly #2 Ducks.  If you’re wondering how Arizona beat them, a lot of it had to do with Oregon missing one of their starting Offensive Tackles, who was back in the line-up against UCLA.

I could perform some more analysis of this game, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  The College Playoffs are now out of reach, and even winning the Conference or Division Title looks like a Pipe Dream.  Beating u$c might be tough too.  So instead of talking x’s and o’s any more today, I’ll just send some xoxoxo to the UCLA Spirit Squad.  The Bruin Cheerleaders were awesome on Saturday, totally outshining the perennially-beautiful Oregon Cheerleaders, who actually have regressed since the last time they came Continue Reading »

FROM THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILS

Orange is the new Blackwell? — University of Spoiled Children Wide Receiver Victor Blackwell gets arrested for suspicion of Domestic Violence, after his girlfriend says he smashed her computer and phone, punched her in the face repeatedly, and threw a chair at her

It has been a few weeks since the u$c Clown College had been in the news (or the Police Blotter) for anything other than choking against Boston College and choking again against Arizona State, giving up a game-winning Hail Mary on the last play of the game and falling out of the National Rankings.  Well, as of last night, the trojans are back on the TMZ-type news, as Wide Receiver Victor Blackwell was arrested by the LAPD for allegedly beating up a girl.

Following in a long tradition of trojans unleashing violence on helpless women before him, Blackwell finds himself being held on $50,000 bail.  Apparently, an argument with his girlfriend led to him destroying her cell phone and laptop by throwing them on the ground and smashing them.  As if that wasn’t enough to make his point, he punched the woman in the face several times.  Apparently, he’s not a great fighter, because he also resorted to throwing a chair at her.  He couldn’t beat up a girl with his bare hands, so he had to improvise a weapon.  Nice.  Who says they don’t teach students at u$c how to be resourceful?  When she retreated to her bedroom and closed the door on Blackwell, he punched some holes in the door.  Trojans don’t take no for an answer.  Just ask all the trojans who’ve been accused of sexual assault over the years.

Victor had been in the news already this week, Continue Reading »

HE DID THE MATH… HE DID THE AFTERMATH

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It was a graveyard smash — In the aftermath of a painfully heartbreaking loss, I don’t even want to talk about football for a while, but I’m always happy to share more UCLA Spirit Squad photos

That’s the difference between being a fan of Sports, and being a fan of beautiful girls — In Sports, there’s always a chance that your team will lose and you will be depressed.  But with Cheerleaders, especially UCLA Cheerleaders, you are never disappointed.  The Spirit Squad never chokes, never gets complacent, never looks ahead, and never loses.  They always come prepared, with the right attitude, and ready to perform — and they have never let me down.

Here are another 59 photos from Saturday… Continue Reading »

MASTERS OF SACKS

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Sacks Tenth Avenue — Utah sacks Brett Hundley TEN TIMES and holds a 10-point 4th Quarter edge before UCLA storms back to take the lead with 4:50 to go, but the Bruin Defense can’t hold the Utes, who go back in front with a Field Goal, and narrowly escape with a 30-28 upset after Ka’imi Fairbairn barely misses a 50-yard Field Goal as time expires

The Dream is Dead.  Well, maybe not dead, but definitely on life-support.  UCLA’s fantasy of an entry into the first-ever College Football Playoff took a nasty, nasty hit on Saturday night, as the Bruins were overrun by 13-point underdog Utah 30-28.  In a historical week of upsets which included losses by #2 Oregon, #3 Alabama, #4 Oklahoma, #6 Texas A&M, #16 u$c, and #18 BYU, #8 UCLA joined the (pity) party by falling at home, to an unranked foe.

UCLA has a history of failing when they are in a position to climb to (or near) the top of the Rankings.  One time when they would have been #1, they inexplicably choked against Washington State.  And for the last several years, every time they go on a streak and start to make headway in the polls, they lose to a lesser team and tumble back down.  This time, they probably would have been voted #4, if they had handled Utah.  Instead, they will drop like a rock, probably out of contention for the Playoffs.

Sure, a 1-loss Pac-12 Champ could still eke into the 4-team Playoff, but it seems unlikely.  Before the Bruins can think about that, they will need to make some serious adjustments and improvements to their team.  Getting Sacked 10 times in one game is a red flag, and points to several facets of the Offense that need to be examined.  Was the Offensive Line just too green without two injured starters?  Was Brett Hundley replaced by an impostor?  The usually elusive former Heisman candidate seemed lost in the pocket all night, holding the ball too long, and lacking his usually-keen field awareness.  Why didn’t he scramble more?  Why wasn’t he running the ball at all?  OR… should the blame be put on the Offensive Coordinator?  Why not call some Draw Plays and Screens?  Why not have Hundley roll out more, and move the pocket?  Why not call any QB Draws or Read Options to let Hundley freeze the rush by using his legs by design?  On the one Screen they did attempt, Hundley threw a Pick 6, but does that mean you shouldn’t try again?  O.C. Noel Mazzone is famous for his quick, horizontal  passing attack, calling throws behind the line of scrimmage all the way to the sidelines — And then the one game where he really needs that kind of attack to quell the pass rush, he doesn’t dial it up at all.  All these questions are legit… and maybe the Utah Defensive Front REALLY IS that good — overwhelming for a decimated OL.  Whatever the reason, the Bruins were playing catch-up all night thanks to all the Sacks.

But catch up, they did.  In the 4th Quarter, down by 10, Continue Reading »

BRANDON EARNS “BRUDOS” (BRUIN KUDOS)

On Wednesday night, former Bruin Baseball Star and current San Francisco Giant Brandon Crawford became the first Shortstop in Major League History to hit a Grand Slam in the Postseason, as he led the Giants to victory in the NL Wild Card Game — And just for good measure, he went 3-for-4 last night in SF’s Game 1 win over Washington in the NLDS

We’re in the middle of Football Season now, with UCLA being undefeated heading into a tough potential trap game versus Utah.  But let’s pause a minute and give a Bruin Baseballer his due.  Brandon Crawford, who was a Bruin Baseball MVP not that long ago, just etched his name into Major League Baseball lore, by becoming the first Shortstop to ever hit a bases-loaded home run in the Playoffs.  On Wednesday night, the San Francisco Giants were locked in a scoreless tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card showdown, when Crawford — who also happens to be married to a former UCLA Gymnast — stepped up to the plate with the bases jammed, and nailed a “Perfect 10″ — he went yard, making the score 4-0 and propelling the Giants to an 8-0 triumph, and into the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.

Then in Game 1 of that NLDS, Crawford continued his October hot streak, going 3-for-4 with a Double in the Giants’ huge 3-2 victory over the Nats’ Ace, IN the Nats’ home park.  Now the Giants have home field advantage in the best-of-5 series, hoping to advance to the NLCS against the rival Dodgers or Cardinals.  With Clayton Kershaw starting Game 1 of the LA-StL series, and with the Dodgers staking him to a 6-1 lead, you would think L.A. would be leading that series.  But St. Louis pulled off a shocking comeback, scoring 8 earned runs against the Cy Young winner, going on to pull off the stunner 10-9, with Yasiel Puig striking out to end the game with the tying run on 3rd.  St. Louis, like San Francisco, has now stolen home field advantage in the best-of-5 series.

The Dodgers are not in good shape, losing the Kershaw home game, but they are still in better shape than the Angels are.  The Angels lost both Game 1 and Game 2, both at home, both in extra innings, so now they have to win 3 straight to stave off elimination, with the next two games in Kansas City, where the fans will be rabid, enjoying their first Playoff Baseball in 29 years, all with Angel MVP Mike Trout mired in a horrid slump.  Let’s just say it’s not looking good for a Freeway Series.

Brandon Crawford is not the only Bruin who deserves some props this week — Continue Reading »

PLENTY OF ISH

Catch and Release — Ishmael Adams’ 95-yard Interception Return TD and 105-yard Kickoff Return TD, plus 5 TD’s by Brett Hundley — including 2 80-yard TD passes — sink the Trident-carrying Sun Devils, as #11 UCLA reels off 28 straight points and reels in its 4th win in a row, 62-27

Holy Mackerel!  The Bruins have finally landed, back on their lofty perch.  While many crabby people around the Country had bought the “UCLA is floundering” school of thought hook, line, and sinker, others were angling for a different reality, and singing a different tuna:  That it was just a matter of time before Jim Mora’s UCLA “full-to-the-gills-with-talent” team would surface, scale the mountain, dig deep into their soles and produce a pearl, play with porpoise, flex their mussels, reel-lize their full potential and put together a whale of a game.  On Thursday night in Tempe, it wasn’t perfect, but now the naysayers should clam up for a while, and stop spouting their (a)balone, after UCLA filleted Arizona State 62-27.

The Bruins started slow, falling behind 17-6 due to a tentative, porous Defense and a mistake-prone Offense.  The Bruins were committing too many penalties to get any momentum, while ASU, led by their 2nd-string QB, got into the end zone twice, both on passes.  The second one was right over Fabian Moreau and Jaleel Wadood, and it looked like the Sun Devils wouldn’t miss their Star QB, who was out with a Foot Injury.  But when the Bruins fell down by 11 — at the start of the 2nd Quarter — that’s when everything changed, and the UCLA that was ranked #7 before the season started, suddenly appeared.

The Bruins exploded for 21 straight points in the quarter, starting with a short pass by Brett Hundley to Eldridge Massington, on which the defenders collided and Massington was able to flee 80 yards to paydirt.  The Bruin Defense also stepped it up a little, as Anthony Jefferson — with his back to the passer — miraculously snatched a pass out of the hands of a Receiver for a remarkable Interception.  Hundley almost capitalized with a bomb to a wide-open Massington, but the ball was just ever-so-slightly overthrown.  The Bruin Defense stayed strong, though, and aided by a dropped 3rd down pass, forced ASU’s first punt (ASU dropped several balls on the night — can’t blame THAT on the back-up QB).  On the ensuing drive, a 17-yard run by Paul Perkins, a long pass completion to Thomas Duarte, and a scramble by Hundley put the Bruins in striking range.  The drive was culminated by a play from the Myles Jack formation, where Jack was a decoy, and Nate Iese got open for the short TD toss (just like in the Texas game).  The score gave the Bruins their first lead at 20-17.

ASU got the ball back and marched down the field with time running out in the 1st Half, and was in range to tie or take the lead back, when Ishmael Adams snagged an errant pass (this one you CAN blame on the back-up QB), and traversed the field all the way to a 95-yard Pick-6.  So instead of ASU being tied or ahead at the break, UCLA was up 27-17.  When Mora’s team has had the lead at the Intermission, Continue Reading »

STINGING IN THE BRAIN, JUST STII-IINGING IN THE BRAIN…

…What inglorious feeling, I’m bleeding again — Former trojan football player Brian Baucham is suing U$C and Lane Kiffin  for forcing him to play while concussed and ill, causing bleeding on the brain and other serious harm… and then revoking his scholarship!!!

Just when you thought the reputation of the u$c Clown College couldn’t be stained any darker… along comes Brian Baucham, to enlighten the World about the true trojan mindset.  Talk about “winning at all costs” — this one takes the cake.  Who cares if the player will suffer debilitating cardiopulmonary damage or life-threatening brain damage:  The trojans need pass coverage!  Baucham was a Cornerback on the 2012 team, who had just suffered a concussion, AND was suffering from flu-like symptoms.  But Lane Kiffin didn’t want to lose to the Cal Bears, so he had Baucham pumped full of fluids and forced onto the field.

The fluids weren’t enough to sustain Baucham, who COLLAPSED in the middle of the game, and was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital.  There he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit, and attached to a ventilator so that he could breathe.  Doctors at the hospital diagnosed Baucham with fluid in his lungs, and “A BLEED ON THE BRAIN.”  Of course this diagnosis contradicts the popular theory that trojan footballers HAVE NO BRAINS, but it confirms that the u$c Coaching Staff doesn’t use THEIRS.  When it comes to Football at u$c, the only thing that matters is winning — the health and welfare of the players be damned.  In fact, this is the SECOND lawsuit like this brought against u$c in just 2 years:  In 2012, Armond Armstead sued the trojans for wrongfully injecting him with painkillers, giving him a HEART ATTACK, and destroying his chances at an NFL career.

Could anything be lower than this heinous pattern of behavior taken by the u$c Football machine, and their culture of abusing players with drugs and steroids all in the sake of “competing?”  You better believe there could, and IS:  To add insult to injury — literally — u$c tried to revoke Baucham’s scholarship after the incident.  So… Continue Reading »

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