Tonight’s game could burn some bridges, so losing it may have a warming effect on a Program in ashes
The biggest day of the year is here: UCLA vs. u$c in Football. Maybe no one outside of L.A cares, but to many in this City, it means everything. Even though both teams suck, the losing fans are still going to HEAR about the result, over and over, all year long. As Red Sanders once said, beating sc isn’t a matter of life and death; It’s more important than that. He’s right — Death hurts for only a moment, while losing this game hurts all year. However, this time, the loser may be the ultimate winner.
For the first time in recent memory, both Head Coaches’ jobs are in jeopardy (as well as the Coordinators’ jobs). And based on the records of both these staffs (“stiffs?”), a house cleaning may actually be a benefit. No, I am not advocating the dismissal of Rick Neuheisel, but if the Bruins get embarrassed on Saturday night, I’m not sure that it wouldn’t behoove the school to make a change. After all, the trojans aren’t World Beaters this year, and they are coming off consecutive losses to weak teams. Add to that the injury status of Matt Barkley, and there is no logical reason to get blown out.
Personally, I understand the Neuheisel Litany of Excuses. Several key injuries, especially in the trenches, are bound to have an adverse effect on a team. Getting most of those big guys back next year should be enough to turn the Program around. Both Bruin Quarterbacks would be much, much more productive if they had more time to make plays. I honstly think that Neuheisel would be successful next season. I also think that if he stays and flounders next season, that it would and should be his final chance.
I know that this Pro-Rick outlook is not shared by the majority of Bruin fans — at least the ones online. Although the Internet Message Boards usually attract the naysayers in unfair proportion, I also see and hear the disgust amongst massive amounts of fans in the stands at the games. Even though the loudest voices are always the negative ones, and those voices tend to drown out the die-hard Neu Supporters, I still don’t think there would be any outcry if Neuheisel were dismissed on Sunday, especially if the Bruins don’t put up a good showing on Saturday night.
Therefore, I think that a lot of UCLA fans might be secretly hoping for a loss, just so that Neuheisel is fired. I am POSITIVE that this dynamic was firmly in place towards the end of Karl Dorrell’s tenure (and Dorrell had a lot more success than Neuheisel has had, in every aspect except recruiting). However — I will never join that crowd. A loss to u$c is never a worthy sacrifice. I don’t want to get it rubbed in my face for a year, just so that the Bruins can undergo another Coaching change. For one thing, there is no guarantee that the new Coach would be a better one. UCLA doesn’t exactly have a good track record for Coach Selection.
And on the other side of the coin: If the Bruins win, not only will it allow Neuheisel to return for another campaign — It COULD mean the end of the Lane Kiffin Era at u$c. Most Bruin fans cringe at the thought of Kiffin being dumped. This season, Kiffin has proven that his previous, LOUSY Coaching record was not a mirage. He really does suck. His team has talent up the wazoo, but the trojans have played passionless, mistake-filled football for most of the year, and they have gotten worse as the season has worn on. Interceptions, dropped passes, fumbles, missed tackles, bad pass coverage, bad kicking, stupid penalties, and last-minute collapses are sure signs of bad Coaching. Kiffin’s play-calling has been atrocious too, repeatedly running on 3rd and long. It would be devastating to see Kiffy get fired this week, especially because the trojan deep pockets are very likely to get a killer new Coach, like Jon Gruden. “Chuckie” just turned down the U. of Miami — Maybe he is holding out for u$c?
So yeah, maybe Beating sc this year will be costly in the long run. But I can’t and won’t think that way. I am much more interested in immediate gratification, gaining momentum, improving recruiting, and revelling in the win all year long. That being said, if the Bruins do lose, as it appears (on paper) that they will, at least you can find some solace in the fact that Kiffin will be staying, and maybe the Bruins can find a better alternative themselves.
Speaking of Bruins and benefits, here are 24 more smokin’ Cheerleader photos from Wednesday night’s BeatSC bonfire. Click them to zoom in (especially the horizontal ones).