Saturday, December 02, 2006

Spoiler Bruins

Not that I'm one to gloat, but . . .

I went to UCLA and even played Freshman football (back when they still had Freshman football and those who didn't give in and quit after, as I remember, about three weeks of really grueling practice, were issued a uniform and, in my case, a seat at the end of the bench -- 165-pound guards didn't get much playing time except in blowouts, even back then). Those who know football history will get an idea of how long ago that was when I mention that we played Single-Wing rather than a T-formation.

So you can imagine how elated I am that UCLA managed to pull off what has to be the upset of the year by beating the mighty Trojans of USC. We've lost the last 7 to our crosstown rival (which has really been remarkable since Pete Carroll came to coach; you've got to respect what he's done, and having consecutive Heisman winners didn't hurt). The Bruins had their starting quarterback go down with an injury after a good start, and lost four in a row. But they regrouped and managed to defeat the team expected to beat them handily and go on to play Ohio States in the BCS (Bollixed Championship Series)championship game.

Back in the day, this was an excellent crosstown rivalry, with the outcome of the game unpredictable no matter what kind of record the two teams had -- and almost always a close, hard-fought, well-played game on both sides. That tradition took a bit of a beating during the Peter Carroll era at USC; his teams were always so good. Last year they embarrassed us 66-19.

If this game revives the tradition of the UCLA-USC games always being at least competitive, I will be pleased -- but not more pleased than I am tonight.

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