UCLA was looking to celebrate their season at the Holiday Bowl, but instead they were manhandled by Baylor’s defense, and they could not stop Baylor’s offense. Photo by Jason Lewis
UCLA was having one of their best seasons in years, but losing the final three games ends the excitement.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
UCLA was on the verge of stamping their season a success, but then the bottom fell out at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. A 49-26 thumping by Baylor (and the game was not really that close) ruined what was supposed to be a special season.
This game was over pretty much from the start, as Baylor scored three touchdowns on their first four possessions, while UCLA struggled to gain first downs against Baylor’s 119th ranked defense in the nation (out of 120 teams.)
This game was supposed to celebrate UCLA’s season. A victory would have given them only their second 10-win season since 1998, and it would have sent them into the offseason on a high. But instead their fans who had made the drive down from Los Angeles were leaving the stadium early in the 4th quarter, trying to beat traffic. The cheering was done, the excitement was over, and the UCLA pride was leaving the building with a lot of time left on the clock.
Is the season still a success? Well, sort of. But that is because the program has been so bad for so many years. Even with losing back-to-back games against Stanford to end the regular season, this UCLA team still looked like they were building something special. This bowl game was where they were going to showcase themselves on national television, and show that they are a legitimate team. But instead they fell right on their faces.
The bar was set so low for UCLA this season that it was easy for them to get over it. It was easy for them to be the feel good story, especially after defeating USC (who lost to every quality opponent on their schedule, so UCLA’s victory in that game is not looking so great anymore.)
Heading into the offseason, has this program really turned things around? They certainly are not as bad as before, but the bar is not going to be set so low for long. Can this team compete for the conference title year-in and year-out? Judging from the end of their season, which was supposed to be a celebrated one, they have lost three games in a row, and there are not too many good feelings around their program right now.