31 Favors — The Bruins are now a THIRTY-ONE point Underdog to the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship Game (because when the line opened at 30, a majority still bet on Oregon and gave the points), and it’s the most any team has been favored over UCLA in ANY sport, since Vegas was a sparkle in Bugsy Siegel’s eye
50 will get you 30… or 31. That’s what happens when you lose 50-0: When you play a team of the same caliber as the team that beat you by 50, you get disrespected to the tune of at least 30 points. Oregon played sc a few weeks ago, and should have beaten them, but blew a Field Goal in the final seconds. On Friday night in Eugene, the Ducks will host UCLA, and no one thinks that they will need a late Field Goal to notch the W.
Oddsmakers set the pointspread trying to split the wagers into equal pots — Half on one team, half on the other. They are NOT predicting the outcome of the game — they are predicting how the money will be bet. If the money is evenly split, then the “house” makes money regardless of who wins, and that’s how they like it. So for the Conference Championship game, the Sportsbooks felt that if the spread were set at THIRTY, half the bettors would take UCLA and the points.
So far, they were close, but not close enough for their comfort. Too much money was coming in on the Oregon -30 side, so they had to shift the line to 31, in order to get more bettors to side with the Bruins. Apparently, more people saw the sc game than the oddsmakers thought. Or maybe, bettors saw the result from the last time the Bruins went to Autzen Stadium, when Oregon completely destroyed the Bruins on National TV, seemingly scoring at will.
And THIS year, the Bruins will have the added distraction of major RUMORS swirling around Westwood, suggesting that Rick Neuheisel will be fired in the days following the expected loss to Oregon. Apparently, the big money boosters have already weighed in, using their immense influence to persuade Dan Guerrero to make a change before an impending Bowl Game. I want to emphasize that these are just rumors, but if you put any credence in the rumor mill, the deep-pocketed supporters have pledged enough extra money to enable UCLA to offer $4 Million a year to the next Coach. With that amount, even highly-coveted Boise State Coach Chris Peterson could be lured to town. Most fans would celebrate a hire like that, and most players would too, except for the ones who are graduating. So don’t expect any non-Seniors to play with any special motivation of saving Neuheisel’s job.
The fact that the Bruins could be 31-point underdogs tells you everything you need to know about the state of the Program, and the reason why a change is most likely going to be made. A huge dilemma would arise if the Bruins actually beat the Ducks and earn a berth in the Rose Bowl. It’s crazy to fire a Coach that wins the Conference Championship, but it’s also crazy to retain a Coach whose team has lost games this year by 29, 26, 36, 25, and 50 points. That’s right: Their last 5 losses have been by an average of over 32 points per loss. Based on that data, the Bruins would have to improve on their average margin of loss over the last two months, just to cover the spread against the Ducks. But considering the Ducks have the highest-scoring Offense of any of UCLA’s opponents, maybe the spread will go up to 35 before the Kickoff.
Speaking of 35, below are 35 more photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad, taken at the pre-game rally and during the game on Saturday. Click on the photos to zoom in on them, especially the horizontal ones, which will enlarge to fill your widescreen monitor. Despite the recent troubles by the Bruin Football and Basketball teams, the Bruin Cheerleaders are still proud to be Bruins, and NOT trojans. That pride was re-affirmed, when they were verbally accosted, and flipped off, by scores of CLASSLESS U$C fans outside of the Coliseum on Saturday night. That kind of typical trOJan behavior reminds us all that regardless of what happens on the field, UCLA develops better human beings, and we’ll never regret being Bruins for Life.