T.J. Simers

Bruins' flat showing in Holiday Bowl takes fizz out of UCLA's season

  • Pin It

They gave it their all, says Mora, in two games against the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 in Stanford and lost both.

They lost to the No. 3 team in the Pac-12 — Oregon State.

They defeated USC, and it seems everyone else did as well.

They beat Nebraska from the weak Big Ten Conference, and Nebraska could not beat Wisconsin, a team with five losses.

Was this season really that special?

It was a good season, Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell's recruits finally living up to expectations.

Mora got terrific play from Brett Hundley and made a brilliant move in switching Anthony Barr from offense to defense.

But good is not special, and the true test of a great college coach in the making is how he fares over time.

Just ask Ben Howland, who took the Bruins to three-straight Final Fours but is now asked regularly to address his future with the school.

Dorrell went 10-2 and the next year knocked USC out of the BCS championship game with a 13-9 win. One year later he was fired.

On the heels of a good start, how does Mora's team do next season at Oregon, at Nebraska and at USC?

How do the Bruins fare as Mora's recruits become starters after this season only one, right tackle Simon Goines, did so?

How do the Bruins react to a cliche, the hard-nosed coach who thinks winning is everything and a defeat merits a time of "mourning?"

This was sad, all right, the Bruins three-point favorites with the betting public buying into the UCLA hype.

But it's now 42-13 with a quarter to play and the Celtics think they are in trouble against the Clippers.

I wonder who loses by more, Boston or UCLA?

Right now UCLA is big on field goals with two in a row while Baylor goes for it on fourth down and scores a touchdown.

Most Bruins fans have left by the time Baylor starts fumbling and UCLA finds a way to score a touchdown. It really does have the feel of a Chargers game.

More than anything, though, this doesn't have the feel of what Mora has been talking about year when it comes to what he plans to accomplish at UCLA.

Baylor isn't this good, but matched against a team playing as if it didn't want to be here, the Bears found reason to be pumped about next season.

When it came time for UCLA to close out Mora's first term and live up to his rip-snorting talk, the Bruins did a belly flop.

I now leave UCLA with one suggestion:

Do not go into next season using the slogan "Unfinished Business."


  • Pin It

Local & National Video