Monday, December 06, 2010

USC 28, UCLA 14. At least I'm not ashamed

Well, as I rather suspected would happen, USC beat UCLA last night, but it was a more competitive game than the final score indicated and I wasn't ashamed of the effort. Indeed, if Jonathan Franklin hadn't fumbled shortly after a 59-yard touchdown run, the momentum would definitely have been with UCLA, and UCLA was within a play of tying the game as late as the fourth quarter. Also, the team didn't give up, scoring a meaningless touchdown (as far as the determining the winner of the game) but not necessarily meaningless when it comes to self-respect.

I want to believe Rick Neuheisel can turn things around, but the program definitely took a step backward this year. Yes, there were injuries, notably to Kevin Prince, who showed a few signs of competence before going down. I think Neuheisel is a reasonably good coach -- he certainly had success at Colorado and Washington. But you kinda wonder. He was accused of at least mildly shady recruiting practices at both schools (though what he was fired for at Washington , betting on March madness, had nothing to do with football) but has cleaned things up while serving at his alma mater. Could it be that his success before had more to do with possibly shady activities than coaching skills and now that he's following the straight-and-narrow his coaching deficiencies are being exposed? I don't know enough to have a definitive opinion, but it strikes me as a possibility.

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