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FIRE’S UP, FOUR’S UP!

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Feel the burn — This year, because there are no protestors and no wind, we finally get a flaming fire… and a funny Forte… and a frightening faux pas, as the fans feverishly file for fourth straight defeat of Fig Tech

Jim Mora knows how to fire up a crowd, and he knows how to fire up his team, especially for the annual Big Game.  In his three years as Head Coach of UCLA, the three best performances the Bruins have had, arguably, have come in the three games against u$c.  Three straight trojan-killings, leaving no doubt that Mora respects the Rivalry, and gets that through to his players.

Of course, he had ultimate trojan–killa Brett Hundley at his disposal for all three of those annihilations.  This year, he will need to get the job done with True Freshman Josh Rosen at the helm.  Hundley was a dual-threat QB, who could beat you with his legs.  This is just the kind of quarterback who always gives sc trouble.  So can pocket-passer Rosen continue the success?  Will he run the ball a few times to keep sc guessing, maybe on the read option, to stop sc from keying on Paul Perkins?

Mora and O.C. Noel Mazzone have had sc’s number these last three years, so we will have to see if they can do it without Hundley there to WILL HIMSELF to those scrambling, third-down conversions.  One good omen is that in these games, TURNOVERS usually tip the scale, and Rosen hasn’t thrown an Interception in a couple of months!  He must continue to play keep-away, especially from Adoree Jackson and Sua Cravens, or it will not be a good day for the boys in blue.

If Mora beats sc for the fourth straight time — this time as an underdog, on the road — he will achieve god-like status, at least to people like me, who take the Rivalry super-seriously…  Which makes something Mora said at the bonfire dramatically troubling.  There have been some rumors about u$c trying to poach Mora to the dark side, which is fairly absurd, but the idea that he may go back to the PRO’S is more of a credible threat.  And on Tuesday night, Mora TRIED to say that a victory in the game on Saturday could deliver a Pac-12 South Division Championship to the Bruins.  But what came out was “NFL Championship.”

Could Mora have the NFL on his mind, because he is going to bail on UCLA after this season?  He said it was just a little faux pas, but Freudian slips like this are usually not total accidents.  Let’s just hope to God that this one was.

Mora was introduced by Will Forte, the former SNL regular who brought you “MacGruber,” and is now the star of “The Last Man on Earth,” on Fox.  Forte seems proud of his UCLA heritage, and led an 8-clap before the team came out.  He said in his day, they didn’t draw out the “L,” but he would try to learn it that way for the future.

Another presenter/performer on the stage last night was India Carney, who was a former student at UCLA, who garnered some success and fame as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”  She sang an original song, and did a little bit of hosting.  The stage was also graced by a whole bunch of current UCLA students, who treated the crowd to a capella  singing, modern dance, and even a drum circle/percussion performance that reminded me of the music for a Haka dance,  I felt like I was on a tropical island for a few minutes.  Very cool.

When the Bruin Football team came out, a few of the Captains, including Jake Brendel, said a few words, but they gave the trojans no bulletin board material, keeping it pretty tame.  Jayon Brown and Jerry Neuheisel also had the mic for a bit, before the whole team treated the crowd to some “dancing.”  It was a lot of fun, and the ones who didn’t dance were using selfie sticks and cell phones to capture the glee.

There was one more highlight before the fire was lit, that I haven’t mentioned yet, and that is, of course, the UCLA Spirit Squad.  They were awesome and lovely as always, but I do have one complaint.  It’s NOT THEIR FAULT, BUT… the stage is too small for the squad, so the Dance Team is on stage, lit by the concert-type lighting set-up, but the Cheer Squad performs in FRONT of the stage, IN TOTAL FREAKING DARKNESS!!!  WTF?!?

Again, I don’t BLAME the squad or their awesome staff, but I implore the staff to get together with the SAA, and figure out a different plan.  It is almost disrespectful to the Cheer Squad to make them perform in the dark.  Maybe Springsteen liked Dancing in the Dark, but I doubt if these girls do.  It’s a miracle that I can get any photos of them for you, because I literally cannot see them.  I just point my camera, and fire off a flash, having no idea if it will be in focus, or what I will get.

I suggest having the Dance Team and Cheer Squad alternate, both performing on stage under the lights.  OR, just have the lighting crew add a couple of lights behind the seats — or use the ones that are already there and point them at the performers!!! Is it really that tough of a concept??

All that being said, please don’t think that I didn’t still love the event, and enjoy the performance.  I just want the BEST for these Bruin Princesses.  They deserve nothing less.

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On a personal note, I wish a speedy recovery to the girl who is currently under the weather, and also, I want to say a couple of Thank You’s – One to Kyle for being so nice to me and Sage, and one to Sage, for being so nice to me.  I met Sage last night, and she helped me get into the event (I had a problem with my RSVP), and into the front row.  She was super-sweet, and a real, true die-hard Bruin!

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Okay, here are the photos from the event…

"FIRE’S UP, FOUR’S UP!" was published on November 25th, 2015 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

Comments on "FIRE’S UP, FOUR’S UP!": 1 Comment

  1. UCLADal wrote,

    BURN troy BURN! Great pics as always T-H. You captured the moment perfectly!

    I watched it on the Youtube feed last night. I spun Deep Purple’s Made In Japan version of Smoke On The Water too. “It burned down the gambling house. It died with an awful sound.” Very appropriate indeed!

    GO BRUINS! DESTROY troy!

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