Well, this sucked.
On New Year’s Eve, the UCLA Bruins decided to close out 2011 with a whimper instead of starting off 2012 with a bang.
And not just the football team. The basketball team.
First, let’s start off with the football team. The first order of business? The damned predictions that this would be a low-scoring game and, indeed, this was a low-scoring games.
And this wasn’t the low-scoring game that reeks of defensive stalwart’ness, dedicated play or, hell, nerves. This was a low-scoring game because both team’s offenses are, well, shit. UCLA’s offense, especially, which surprised Bruins’ fans across the nation. Mike Johnson, interim head coach and apparent offensive playcaller, made some ballsy decisions to launch some tosses downfield, far more than usual. This down-the-field-with-conviction-type mentality (albeit welcomed) proved to be the Bruins’ Achilles heel, when Kevin Prince threw a pick-six to put the Illini up 10-7 in the second half.
The run game was stagnant, the offensive line was shoddy and the receivers fumbled some catchable balls that would’ve been game-changers.
The defense? They were OK, as they benefited from an as-bad-if-not-worse Illinois offense, but crumbled down the stretch, allowing 11 unanswered points (if you don’t count the garbage-time touchdown with 45 seconds left on the clock with the Bruins down 21-7).
Clearly, Mike Johnson wanted to mess around a little with an offense that was taught to play ultra-conservatively by running the ball and playing the field position game. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing — I’m sure we all would’ve loved gutsier playcalling all season — but it was far too late for this squad to execute a vertical offensive attack. Receivers didn’t look ready to make the catches necessary to change the outcome of the game and Kevin Prince often looked confused.
The basketball team? I have no idea, I didn’t watch. (Hey, it was either the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on my Xbox 360 or the UCLA-Cal game on a crap-ass and illegal stream; which would you pick?)
Regardless, the Bruins were blown out after keeping the game close after the first half. That drops them to 0-2 in the Pac-12, ruining our hope that this team could compete for the Pac-12 title.
Dan Guerrero has made a mess and this dude needs to go. Ten years of mediocrity is enough.