Historic Day… for UCLA: In a bad omen for sc, Rick Neuheisel becomes Bruin Head Coach on same day that New England completes a perfect season
WANTED: Experienced Compliance Officer.
The UCLA Football Bruins filled their Head Coaching vacancy yesterday, selecting Bruin grad and Rose Bowl MVP Rick Neuheisel. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero wisely allowed the search to go for 26 days, while interesting names like Mike Martz and John Fox were explored. So now, no one can say that Guerrero snatched up the eager Neuheisel too quickly, without testing out the waters.
Regardless of the search length, this selection is still controversial. Some fans have already refused to support the Bruins now that a “shady” character has been put in charge. These people are NOT fans. Sure, Rick has a shady past, but there is not ONE serious violation that any of these haters can name. All Rick’s transgressions have been minor, and he is now alert to the issues, and won’t allow them to recur. At least, that is what he SWORE TO yesterday in his initial set of interviews as Bruin Head Coach.
Everyone knows that the NCAA will be watching the Bruin Program closely, but we INVITE that kind of scrutiny, because we expect the Program to function 100% above-board. And when the NCAA Compliance Agents see that everything is in perfect order in Westwood, maybe they’ll hop on the Freeway, and see what’s going on over at South Central U. That would keep them busy, and out of Neuheisel’s hair, for years.
We are not worried about off-the-field problems. What has us less than celebratory is the declining records of his previous college teams, and the horrendous performance of this year’s Baltimore Ravens’ Offense, which Rick is currently coordinating.
We are also worried about Defensive Coordinator Dewayne Walker bolting for Washington. Ty Willingham has offered him a job with the Huskies, and while Rick wants him to stay, he is probably a little bitter, and perhaps intrigued by the prospect of shutting down Neuheisel’s teams for a few years, before succeeding Willingham as Head Coach up there. Not that Ty is on his way out, but if Rick keeps his nose clean, he may not be going anywhere for decades.
And that would be just fine with us, assuming the obvious. We like the same things about him that everyone else does: He won 11 games in a year – something no Bruin team has ever done – and despite this year’s results in Baltimore, he is respected as something of an Offensive Wizard. And of course, his enthusiasm, charisma, and Recruiting Charm should change the face of UCLA Football for a long time.
The Bruins can now start thinking about National Titles instead of City Titles. And soon, they’ll be going for undefeated seasons. Speaking of which…
The New England Patriots pulled it off — They came back from a 12-point 3rd Quarter deficit to beat the Giants 38-35 and finish the regular season 16-0. They are the first team to go undefeated since the 1972 Dolphins, who went on to win the Super Bowl. Two other teams went undefeated, both Chicago Bears from before we were born, but neither of those teams won the Title. So the Pats still have to win it all before they can really share the spotlight with the Dolphins. The Pats did set three different NFL Records: Most Points in a Season, Most TD Passes by a QB (Brady), and Most TD Receptions (Moss). But the Pats had to dig out of a hole… THANKS TO A TROJAN.
Ex-trOJan and infamous racist homophobe Junior Seau missed an easy tackle on the Giants’ first TD, and then he got caught in a Bush League manuever — Sitting on an opponent and holding him down to let more time run off the clock. The cheater was penalized five yards, and more importantly, it stopped the clock. Soon thereafter, the Giants scored another TD, right before the Half.
Seau was ultimately bailed out by Tom Brady, Randy Moss (2 TD’s), and Wes Welker (100+ yards Receiving). Lawrence Maroney ran for 2 TD’s, and Kevin Faulk made several huge EFFORT plays. The Pats were down 28-16 before scoring 22 straight to take a 10-point lead with 5 miutes left. The Giants SLOWLY marched down the field for a TD, but with 1 minute left, failed to recover an Onside Kick, ending the game.
Seau wasn’t the only Pat to show a lack of class. Rodney Harrison, the one who got into it with Freddie Mitchell a few years ago, got caught on a late personal foul that was so bad, Bill Belichick actually pulled Harrison from the game, with 5 minutes to go and the Giants driving. We were actually surprised that Bilichick had the cajones to take that risk, just to rub Harrison’s nose in it, so, good for Belichick, of whom we are no fans. Hopefully, Neuheisel can emulate Belichick’s WON-LOSS RECORD, without emulating his CHEATING. And we think he CAN (especially if Walker stays, or his replacement is equally qualified).
And speaking of cheating, here are 13 more cheerleader photos — 8 of Bruins on High, that give us a Natural High, 1 very nice fan shot, and 4 Kick Shots from the UCLA-UC Davis game, sent to us by our Most Valuable Contributor in history, Mr. bruincivil. Oh, by the way, the Bruins beat Davis by 28 (ho-hum), failing to cover the spread by 6 and a half points in their final tune-up before facing the Northern Cal Pac-10 teams next week on the road.
[Don’t forget, especially today: Click on photos to enlarge them.]