USC wide receiver Robert Woods (Gardena Serra HS) toyed with UCLA defenders, as he caught 12 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including this circus catch in the endzone. Photo by Ken Brooks
With the state of UCLA’s football program, the latest blowout loss will not be the last.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
What in the world happened at the Coliseum? 50-0? That was not a rivalry game between USC and UCLA. That was one team having their way with another team who claims to be their rivals. That was one school that takes pride in their football program against another team that simply fields a team. From UCLA’s standpoint that was as bad as it gets, but it will still get worse.
Has UCLA finally hit rock bottom? Have they finally hit that point where there is no place to go but up? Has UCLA finally hit the point where they have no choice but to turn the corner?
Ah, no. They’ve been blown out before, and with the state of this program, they will be blown out again. Like, tomorrow night at Oregon in the first ever PAC-12 Championship Game.
Earlier this year UCLA was blown out at home against Texas. Two weeks later Stanford wiped the field with them. Two games after that, a lousy Arizona team ran them out of the state, a game on national television. And when Utah had their shot against UCLA, they knocked UCLA out with ease.
Somehow UCLA ended up clinching a berth in the PAC-12 Championship Game before they stepped on the field with USC. UCLA decided to break out some new uniforms to attract recruits. Well it looked like they waved the white flag with those all white uniforms, because USC did what ever they felt like in their win over UCLA.
There really is no point in talking X’s and O’s, stats, or the flow of the game. USC played great in every aspect of the game from start to finish, while UCLA was horrible in every aspect of the game from start to finish. USC wanted to drive UCLA into the dirt on every play, and they did. It looked like a varsity team toying with a junior varsity team.
UCLA was thoroughly embarrassed by their cross-town rivals, and they will get more of the same when they travel to Eugene, Oregon.
UCLA traveled to Oregon last season and they were trounced 60-13, so Oregon players and coaches must think that this title game will be a joke.
If UCLA could find a way out of that game they should, because Oregon may try to do them worse than USC did.
There is no way that this is good for recruiting. Why would any big time athlete choose UCLA after watching them against USC, or seeing what Oregon is going to do to them?
UCLA really needs to look at their program and figure out what the issue is. How can the Chancellor of the school sit back and let this happen? How can the Athletic Director allow this to happen? And how long will they allow it to happen?
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel has been fired, but he will still be able to coach the Bruins tomorrow night. The blame for this mess is not all his fault, but when something this horrible takes place, the head coach has to go. That’s just the nature of the position. At this point, why would any player on the team want to suit up and go into battle with him as the leader?
Leading into their match up with USC, Neuheisel said that the gap between the two teams has closed. Nobody believed that before the game, and everybody is laughing at that statement now. USC printed shirts for their players that said “PAC-12 South Division Champions,” and they are right.
This is not a knee jerk reaction over one humiliating loss. In four years under Neuheisel, UCLA is 21-28, and their record against teams who finished with a winning record is 3-25. A decent amount of those 25 losses were blowouts.
Neuheisel may have been put in a position where it was impossible to succeed. But it is obvious that he cannot win at UCLA. They are losing their fan base and possible recruits, so a change had to happen immediately.
UCLA also needs to look at their administration and figure out what their part in this mess is. Why haven’t they supported the team like most big time colleges do?
Neuheisel said that he and previous head coach Karl Dorrell asked for certain things that would have helped the program win, but they did not receive the support from the university. Well it is time for the school to step up and build a winner, and that starts with a big time head coach.
Money has been an issue with the coaching staff, where Neuheisel made $1.2 million a season. Coordinators at UCLA make a few hundred thousand a year. But at big time football programs, head coaches make $3-4 million a season, and coordinators make in the $1 million dollar range. If UCLA is not willing to spend the money, they will not be able to land the coaches that they need.
Boise St. head coach Chris Petersen appears to be on the top of UCLA’s wish list. He has turned Boise St. into a national power, and his name has been attached to some of the top head coaching vacancies. But UCLA will have to pay up to get him. He makes $1.5 million a season at Boise St., but he turned down $3 million a season last year from Stanford.
UCLA should not use money as an issue, seeing that every PAC-12 school will have some deep pockets because of the influx of more television money. Money that was not there before.
As of right now there are no signs that the blowouts are going to stop because there are no signs that the university will support the football program. Nor do the Bruins seem capable of competing with any decent team in the nation. This is not rock bottom, because it is only a matter of time before they are embarrassed again. Which will probably be tomorrow night.
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