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 College Football’s Defensive Player of the Week, for his stellar performance in the Bruins’ Double-Overtime victory over Colorado. Kendricks led the team again, with 16 Tackles (15 solo), he had 1 Tackle-for-Loss, he had 1 Pass-Broken-Up, and also 1 Interception which he returned 21 yards, setting up a Bruin Field Goal that put the Bruins up 17-0. This is the THIRD TIME THIS SEASON that Kendricks has won a Player-of-the-Week award.
And this was not the only honor Kendricks garnered this week. He and fellow UCLA Linebacker Myles Jack were both named Finalists for the Dick Butkus Award, which goes to the Nation’s Top Linebacker. There are only 15 Finalists, and 2 of them are from UCLA. Not too shabby.
Their play is a big part of the reason why UCLA was included in the first ever College Football Playoff Committee’s Top 25, at #22. With 2 losses, the Bruins’ inclusion was very much in doubt, but they made it because of their strength of schedule, and because of the fact that their two losses were to highly-ranked teams, including their last-second, heart-breaking loss to Utah. And thanks to Utah handing u$c the trojans’ THIRD LOSS, u$c FAILED to make the inaugural Top 25.
Unlike u$c, UCLA as a University is much, much more than just a home to a Football team. This notion was confirmed once again, when the U.S. News and World Report released their brand new rankings of the best Universities in the World. UCLA came in at #8 (and #2 for Public Schools). Harvard was #1, followed by MIT, UCB, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, CalTech, and then UCLA. If you want to find u$c on the list, you better scroll down. And down. Further down. All the way down to #50. And that was generous. I guess the reviewers didn’t get stabbed or shot while visiting the campus.
Even though UCLA is so much more than a so-called Football Factory, they still produce plenty of gridiron heroes. And in the past two weeks, THREE NFL GAMES were WON “single-handedly” BY INDIVIDUAL BRUINS. A week ago Sunday, former Bruin Field Goal Kicker Kai Forbath hit a 22-yard LAST-SECOND Field Goal for his Washington Redskins, winning the game 19-17 over the Tennessee Titans, despite the Titan Coach trying to ice Forbath with a time out right before the ball was snapped. But unfazed, Kai knocked the subsequent attempt through the uprights, sending the Titans to defeat. And this week, just to show it was no fluke, Forbath did it again. This time, it came on the road, on the big National stage of Monday Night Football, against the hottest team in Football, and the Redskins’ biggest, most-hated Rival, the Dallas Cowboys. The Skins were huge underdogs, with the ‘Boys having just won 6 straight games. Forbath got the Redskins the early lead with a 44-yard Field Goal, but the game went back-and-forth until heading into Overtime at 17-17. Washington got the ball, and drove into Field Goal range, and Kai nailed a 40-yarder. Then their Defense held Tony Romo and the Cowboys, making Forbath’s clutch kick the GAME-WINNER, for the second week in a row.
And Kai’s OT FG wasn’t the only Bruin OT heroic. In Tampa Bay, just SEVENTEEN SECONDS into the Overtime period, UCLA great Anthony Barr – now a Linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings – stripped the ball from a former Washington Husky, scooped up the fumble, and rambled 27 yards to the end zone for a game-winning Touchdown. It was only the 4th game-winner of its kind in the History of the NFL, and the fastest Overtime game-winning fumble return ever. More HISTORY being made by Bruins! And it’s not just Football that is being dominated by UCLA — It’s also Futbol. Right now, both the Men’s and Women’s UCLA Soccer teams are #1 in the Country. And let’s not forget Men’s Water Polo, also currently ranked #1.
It’s good to be a Bruin lately, despite the Football team not quite living up to expectations this year. There are many ways to judge a school, and just one way is to compare yourself to your rival. And with all the things going on over at u$c Clown College lately (Fake hero claims he saved a kid from drowning while actually evading Police in a Burglary; A player sues SC for making him play while sick and concussed causing brain and lung damage; A player saying that Coach Sarkisian treats the Black players like slaves; A player going AWOL then getting arrested for beating up his girlfriend; SC Athletic Director Pat Haden getting fined for accosting referees during a game, etc., etc., etc. — It’s easy to feel superior.
Before you can be the best in the Nation, you have to be the best in the City. Hence, our joy at besting u$c in every way possible. It’s called a Rivalry, and there is nothing wrong with relishing it. I am SO SICK of trojans, and so-called Bruins (aka trojan sympathizers) who complain at the joy some of us take in sc’s trials and tribulations. On the Bruin Zone message board these last couple of weeks, there have been some people wondering why Bruins root against Pete Carroll in the NFL, then there are others who say “Who cares?” when there is a happy post about sc missing out on the College Football Playoff Committee’s Top 25. There is a common refrain from a sizable contingent about some Bruins being too concerned with usc. Well… These people are clueless. They just don’t get it. It’s called a Rivalry! It’s perfectly normal to root against your rival. They are the competition. McDonald’s roots against Taco Bell. Coke roots against Pepsi and would love to see them file for bankruptcy. Ford roots against Chevy, and doesn’t mind GM recalling air bags. Superman roots against Lex Luthor, and Batman wants the Joker dead. We are fighting with usc every day, for recruits, donations, and respect. The worse they do, the better we do. There are many fans and supporters out there in L.A. who have no alumni allegiance, and are just there for the taking. UCLA craves these undecideds, and if usc looks bad, we have a better chance of growing our brand.
So call it schadenfreude if you want, but don’t condescend to those of us who express it. There is nothing wrong with being a loyal Bruin, and despising your rival… especially when your rival thrives on so many evil practices, breaks the law, ignores the rules, violates so many regulations, pays their players to go there, then shoots them up with steroids once they arrive, then gives them cars and luxury living arrangements to stay there, along with a stack of get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Don’t let the trojan apologists shake your true Blue colors. It’s okay to hate u$c, and celebrate UCLA’s overwhelming superiority.
And one more way that UCLA is vastly superior to u$c is the beauty and talent displayed by our Spirit Squad, demonstrated here in these 22 photos from our last home game.