Why are goodbyes so damned hard?

Hey guys! It’s me — the big dude who’s been roamin’ around here, bloggin’ it up.

Well, in case you haven’t figured out, I was offered a gig by the dudes at FanSided to edit their UCLA blog Go Joe Bruin.

The goals of this website will carry on to the new place, too, so don’t you fret. The difference is, the platform will be larger and the audience should be awesome’r. I love you guys, so it’d be awesome if you fired up a new tab and headed on over there.

Peace!

VISIT THE NEW BLOG AT FANSIDED: GO JOE BRUIN. GO BRUINS!!!

Your Gut Instinct Might Be Wrong – Football Math

(Ed. Note: The following post was done by a new member of the family, ixrs. Please, welcome him to the show.)

You’re down by 14 in a football game with 3 minutes left in a football game. You just scored a touchdown. Your team sucks and only converts 2pt. conversions 40% of the time (most teams average around 45-55%) You should kick an extra point, right? Nope.

It’s mathematically more sound to go for 2.

Why is this relevant? Because fans often call for things that are detrimental to the team that they love as their first instinct. And likewise, everybody has been calling for Ben Howland’s head, and those that defend him are derisively called “Howlers” (at that other “Bruin” blog).

I’ve posted on reddit.com/r/ucla (this post, specifically) detailing why firing Howland is a bad idea. tl;dr -> Not firing him now will save 7 million dollars (not chump change, considering even Kentucky’s highest paid coach in the nation makes $4 million. The legendary Coach K of Duke makes 2.2) and this will help us HIRE A MUCH BETTER coach, or if the best case scenario occurs, Howland redeems himself.

You’d be naive to think otherwise. Money talks. Everything else walks.

Finally, football math is just interesting.

Math below:

Most teams have around a 40-55% chance at succeeding. No matter what happens, you’re hoping for another defensive stop and then another touchdown.

Let’s assume the worst case scenario — your team only gets a 40% conversion rate! Two 1 pt. conversions = a tie, so we’ll use that as a baseline. Now if you fail the first 2pt. conversion and succeed at the second, you’ll end up with 14pts., which is exactly the same result. Since that would be the exact same result, we can ignore it, because it’s the same as kicking two PATs.

Now lets compare the chances of losing versus the chances of winning, if one outweighs the other then we can figure out if the 2 pt. conversion is a better choice.

Now what are the odds of losing? 60% (failing the first 2pt. conv.) x 60% (failing the second 2pt. conv.) = 36% of losing.

Now if you make the first conversion, you win the game, because your second attempt is just a 1pt. attempt (so you’ll get 15pt. total, winning the game versus the 14 pt. deficit). What are the odds of making the 2pt. conversion? It’s a given- 40%.

Now 40% is a greater percentage than 36%, so your odds of winning outright outweigh your odds of losing outright.

Basically, you should go for the 2pt. attempt EVEN if your team is below 50% at 2pt. attempts! (As long as your team is above around 39% or so at 2pt. conversions.)

UCLA Bruin, soon-to-be NBA All Star, Kevin Love, stomps on Luis Scola’s grill

Now, we understand why stomping on someone’s face is bad. No matter what, that’s kind of something we just don’t do in America. Perhaps this is a rite of passage in some traditional culture, but not in Minnesota (at least, not that I know of).

But someone needs to tell Kevin Love the news, you guys. Because he totally stomped on Luis Scola’s face and chest. Check it:

Ouch. That looks pretty terrible. I’m not about to defend our beLOVEd Kevin Love, but if we’re being honest, it wasn’t exactly done out of malcontent, at least to these eyes. Here’s another angle:

Honestly, it looks as if he’s trying to step over him, but his foot gets tangled in Luis Scola’s face. If it was truly malicious, Love would’ve stepped a little harder, because if we’re being honest, it was a pretty light step.

That said, I guess stepping over the guy isn’t the best course of action (which was what Kevin Love was doing). He could’ve easily went around him, jumped over him, something. But to say that he stepped on his face intentionally? That’s a stretch.

Of course, the suspension of two games he received is fine by me. It wasn’t done maliciously, but it might be construed that way and it did look kind of bad.

Next time, Kevin Love? Remember that you’re a Bruin and that we don’t step on other people’s faces on purpose except if it’s a poster of a uSc student’s face.

(Then it’s fair game.)

To the greatest group of people on earth: You, the reader, deserve all my thanks

When I started this blog up back in November 2011, I was hoping just to mess around, rant about the UCLA Athletics program a bit, and possibly kill some time while the winter break was coming up. All the way through January, I didn’t do much to advertise, or even consider garnering more reads.

I always came in with the plan of coming up with an alternative to that sorry-ass excuse for a blog, “BruinsNation.” The narrative at that site makes me vomit, and I often mistake it for some crappy uSc blog, considering all they do is talk shit about our Bruins.

But, there are, of course, people and places to talk about.

It wasn’t until January that I had began posting links on Reddit (namely /r/UCLA and a few others) that I realized that the community was hungry for a UCLA blog that tried its best to be objective and let the story of our Bruins dominate the narrative (as opposed to the story of the blogger). Ever since I began connecting with people from /r/UCLA and other websites, I took the blog more seriously. Instead of considering it as some place to rant, I began to consider it a community, or at least the start of one. There is no fan-base as vocal as the UCLA fan-base, and there is no fan-base as proud as the UCLA fan-base.

I put up polls. You guys vote on them. I write posts that forces you to rebuttle, or even agree? You comment on those posts. My statistics tell me that the need for a UCLA athletics community — a place to rant without getting your ass banned — is one that’s very much needed. And that’s why I’m continuing.

So yes, the entire purpose of this blog post is to thank you, the reader, for keeping up and following along. I can’t post all the time (I’m a junior at UCLA and I’m taking 19 units!), but I can post as much as humanly possible, about basketball, football, or whatever other newsworthy thing going on the UCLA universe. If you’d like to help out around here, ask questions, show us some vids, I’d be happy to have you along for the ride. Hit me up in the comment section below, saying you want to be a part of this blog, and I’ll invite you via your e-mail. If you just want to keep reading and answering poll questions? That’s fine, too. It’s you’re prerogative.

GO BRUINS!!!!

UCLA Football coach Jim Mora: “We won’t wait to win”

There is no five-year plan. There isn’t a two-year plan.

Jim L. Mora wants wins, and he wants them now.

He said as much in his interview with 710 ESPN Radio’s John Ireland and Mark Willard. According to Mora, the UCLA football train is going to move pretty damn fast:

“We’re certainly not going to wait to win,” Mora said. “There is no five-year plan, there is no two-year plan. … We’re not going to put any limitations on what we can do and the governor is off. We’re going full throttle.”

“This train is moving now,” Mora said. “This train is going down the tracks and people need to jump on board and ride with us because we’re going to go do some pretty special things here in the next couple of years.”

Talk is cheap. As perennially depressed Bruins fans, students and alum, we pretty much hang this adage on a white-board in our offices and bedrooms, to remind us that, although the hype around our program is incredible, and there are signs of reasonable optimism, nothing is ever successful until it’s, well, actually successful.

This time, though? This time feels a little different (although many will claim to have said the same thing when Rick Neuheisel was hired back in 2008). This time, Mora has turned around a mess of a recruiting class and turned it into a top-10-worthy group of incoming freshman (and a junior college transfer). And this time, there are no emotional ties to Jim Mora, nor are there ties to UCLA on Jim Mora’s side of things.

The main thing is to get it done. He hasn’t made bold predictions, he hasn’t gone around claiming to take down football monopolies. He’s telling us what we all know is a requirement for any head coach: The goal is to win, and win now. No more favoring upperclassmen solely for the reason that they’re upperclassmen. No more giving kids second chances when they screw up.

Accountability and tough love is what this program needs, and that’s what Mora’s always been about.

Let’s just see if that translates to about eight wins in 2012.

Heartbreak: UCLA Men’s Basketball loses nail-biter to Washington, 71-69

Ben Howland is still taking his playbook, going home

I want to cry.

I want to cry, not because we lost a close game. I want to cry because we lost this close game. Bruins across the nation may be getting tired of the phrase “turning the corner” but a win against one of the top-ranked teams in the Pac-12, in the loudest arena in the conference, while we’re just two games back from the top spot? That would have been turn-the-corner-esque.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

UCLA lost to U-Dub 71-69 on Thursday night. While the score may indicate that Washington survived a “scare,” that wasn’t the case at all — UCLA jumped on the Huskies early in the second half and, with minutes to go, our Bruins dropped a 10-point lead within a matter of seconds. The Huskies’ late surge definitely had something to do with it, but as the story of our season has been, we crumbled late. Shoddy decision-making, poor shot selection and really terrible defense down the stretch doomed us.

Because, with five minutes left to go in this contest, our Bruins held the Huskies (who average 77 points per game) to 53 points while we mounted 63 on their asses. While we managed to score six points in those last five minutes, we let the home team put up over 20 points to close the damn thing out.

The implications for the win would’ve been surreal. We would’ve probably gotten our first road win outside of Los Angeles (we beat uSc on the “road”), and arguably the most important one of the season. We would’ve put ourselves in position to have an outside (but not too outside) shot to take a lead in the Pac-12 standings. At the very least, we might’ve begun to make the case for a bid to the Dance this marge. Instead, here we are, at 12-10 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

The obvious narrative is that of Coach Ben Howland’s seat, and its current temperature. And while my heart, filled with emotion, even 12 hours after the fact, keeps saying, FIRE HIM! FIRE THAT MOTHERF***ER, my brain, cold and calculated, says we still need to have him for one more year. Despite the setbacks that Howland has suffered, it’s the 2012 recruiting class that’s worth keeping him around for, namely to keep us in contention for the top prospect in the nation, Shabazz Muhammad.

Things are going to get funky here in Westwood. I ask you, reader, one more time: Should Howland get fired?

VIDEO: Hey, guess which CBS Sports Analyst interviewed UCLA’s Jim Mora?

The arrival of Rick Neuheisel in 2008 brought a crap-load hype and excitement from UCLA alum, students and fans. That obviously fizzled and Neuheisel was fired this past November and the once-hopeful hiring wound up in disappointment.

Jim L. Mora is, so far, a bit of a reversed story. His hiring brought a shit-load of vitriol from the UCLA fan-base but, all of a sudden, he has the UCLA universe hopeful once more after a wildly successful recruiting season.

And those two men, for the first time in the public’s eye, spoke to one another over the phone while CBS Sports interviewed Jim Mora on his successful 2012 recruiting class. Watch:

Yes, I think that pretty much sums up UCLA. Despite the fact that Mora was met with a ton of opposition during his hiring, and despite Neuheisel’s rough firing this past fall, the two men were amicable and joking around. You can tell Rick felt everything was a little surreal by the way he spoke to Mora. When you talk to your successor at your beloved university, which you would gladly spill blood, sweat and tears for, things are bound to get a little emotional.

But Rick did not cry and Mora said the right things. No awkward TV moment, no hard feelings. While we all desperately wanted Rick Neuheisel to succeed when he was hired, and while we all begged for anyone else but Jim Mora to replace Rick, we can see the level of professionalism oozing through the YouTubez.

And that, ladies and gents, is what it means to be a Bruin.