Sugar coated Bruins with the same bitter taste
There’s bad blood brewin’—or ‘Bruin’—and as expected in a town featuring Hollywood as its backdrop, amateur screen writers will rush to prepare a script complete with villains, struggles, and an underdog shifting the balance of power to close the gap. But just as the silver screen is often filled with exaggeration, the battle for Los Angeles is no different. Sure, Pete Carroll and Rick Neuheisel will portray themselves, and may even display genuine hate without the assistance of cue cards. But any mention of the ‘gutty’ little Bruins narrowing the distance between themselves and their nemesis is nothing more than the sugar coating of a rivalry.
After watching ESPN’s take of Saturday’s game, it was apparent that analysts had ridiculously categorized the crosstown showdown as a suspense thriller, instead of rightfully leaving it as the situation comedy that it has been. UCLA may be close to USC on a city map, but the football program remains far in the distance and gaining no ground.
Despite the hiring of high profile coaches, UCLA is no different today than they were three years ago. There is plenty of focus on the final seven points scored by the Trojans in the closing seconds of the game, but if we’re measuring progression, the attention should be placed on UCLA’s seven points scored in the sixty minute contest. Those seven points not only match the woeful offensive output of Neuheisel’s Bruins of 2008, but they are equal to the amount scored against USC in Karl Dorrell’s final season. Three consecutive victories for USC, while posting nearly identical scores in each. This is Westwood progression?
When you look at conference play, again you will find a program stuck in the mud. UCLA’s three conference victories equal last year’s total, and is just one less than Dorrell’s staff in 2007. And though Saturday’s final score of 28-7 may not be indicative of the battle fought, it’s hardly a sign of UCLA closing the gap, as much as it gives evidence to the empire’s regression. In the midst of an 8-3 season of struggles, it’s clear that the Trojans are not what they once were. Others in conference have taken advantage of the fact, while the incapable Bruins are left with that same bitter taste in their mouth.
The rivalry was filled with bad blood, long before Matt Barkley made a final heave that rested in the arms of Damian Williams. That’s the extent of ESPN’s script writing accuracy. As far as a gap being closed between two programs, that is purely fiction, and included for the sole purpose of entertainment.