Sunday, November 28, 2004

Bruin Football Tradition

During this week, it's appropriate to take a look at the tradition of UCLA Football. Many KD apologists repeat the myth that UCLA doesn't have a great college football tradition. UCLA is just a basketball school, and really, therefore, so the self-fullfilling prophecy goes, you can't expect too much success, and therefore, the mediocre performance of the head football coach must be excused, as you can't expect too much from him anyway.

Nonsense.

College Football Data Warehouse has a lot of neat statistics that easily dispel this myth.


First, UCLA is ranked 25th alltime. This is an amazing feat in itself. Consider: UCLA was founded, and began playing football, in 1919.

Notre Dame is #1 on CFDW's list. Notre Dame was founded in 1842 and began playing football in 1887. Alabama began playing football in 1892, $C in 1888, Oklahoma in 1895, Michigan in 1878. So those teams had a bit of a head start on us.

UCLA didn't have a winning season until Bill Spaulding's first year as head coach in 1925. We lost to three high schools and the USS Idaho in that first year.

We've come a long way:
18 Conference Championships
1 National Championship
1 Heisman Trophy Winner
12-12-1 Bowl Record (did not compete in a bowl game other than the Rose Bowl until the 1976 Liberty Bowl, against Alabama)
8 straight bowl victories (1983-1991)
12 Rose Bowls

Compiled Rankings
From 1950 on, it's quite impressive
Quarter Century: 1950-74: 15th
1975-99: 14th
Decade: 1950-59: 9th
1960-69: 17th
1970-79: 18th
1980-89: 8th
1990-99: 13th
2000-03: 18th

Winning percentage since 1950:
20th, .638 (note that South Florida has only been D I-A since 1997, Boise State, only since 1968)

10th places us higher than Arkansas, LSU, and Washington, along with many other programs of course. (Other teams of note: Oklahoma 1, .752; Michigan 5, .724; $C 9, .688; Notre Dame 10, .688; Florida State 12, .677; Arizona State 13, 664 ;Miami 14, .664; Florida 17, .657; Washington 24, .615

One more fun fact. Athlon Sports asked fans "which school has the best greatest college football tradition?". UCLA was one of the ten programs listed. Also listed were Notre Dame, Texas, $C, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Ohio State.

Granted, we received less than one percent of the vote (but Texas also received less than one percent of the vote). (The Evil Empire won, and Nebraska won a greater percentage of the vote than Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, or Alabama, making this poll a travesty in my opinion -- but it's not exactly scientific).

If anyone has any more examples of Bruin Football tradition, we'd love to add it. Great facts to add would be number of alumni in the NFL, number of All Americans, and other accomplishments.

But just looking at the raw numbers compiled by CFDW, it's tough to say that UCLA doesn't have a great football tradition, or that UCLA hasn't traditionally been a very prominent program with a great tradition.

But the apologista arguments never really on pesky things like facts. These are the same people who thought L***n would be a better coach than Coach K. You just can't take these arguments seriously. But you can shoot them down with facts. Apologistas can't take facts.

UCLA has a great football tradition. We deserve better than mediocrity.

One last stat: we beat $C for eight straight years! That is an accomplishment that has never been exceeded or equalled in the storied history of the rivalry.

Every year we should expect to beat $C. This year is no different. KD must beat $C or this season is definitely a failure. If he beats $C and gets 8 wins we can consider this season is an improvement. Don't accept mediocrity because the talking heads, the higher ups, the mid-level bureacrats, or the self-interested press or proprietors of message boards tell you that's how it is.

That's not how it is, and historically that's not how it's been.

Now BEAT $C!
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