This blog is about lots of things. It’s about USC football and celebrating how handsome and attractive we all are. It’s sometimes about reality television, especially the kind where people Hunger Games it to compete for the love of someone who will probably dump you publicly. Sometimes it’s about pop culture. Hell, sometimes it’s about the animals I ate and beverages I drank over the weekend. It’s never really been an “anti-UCLA” blog.
Sure, sometimes it happens. We’re “rivals”, although not lately in a 50-0 sense. The thing is, since the 50-0 debacle, UCLA has been a PR nightmare generator. Actually, since Neuhisel was hired. There was the “football monopoly is over” and “we’ve closed the gap” statements followed by some of the most devastating football failures in the history of our fair city. There was the falling in college ranks below USC (according to US News and World Report which any Trojan will tell you has long been held over our head, until in true Oregon Duck fashion, the tide turned and now most Bruins will tell you this ranking system is now conveniently unimportant). There was the tradition of UCLA seniors to skip their final practice of the year like some sort of Saved By The Bell five-minute-rule ditch day exercise. There was the begging in the form of a petition to the NCAA to be allowed to play in a bowl after finishing 6-6. There was every comment Coach Rick said about how backing into the Pac 12 title game wasn’t a bad thing (unless you like being publicly mocked). There was everything Dan Guerrero has done this year. There was losing the bowl game you begged to play in and players ditched practice in preparation for making the 2011 Bruins officially the worst team ever to play in a bowl game (at 6-8 final record). There was this basketball season. There was the Sports Illustrated article about UCLA players dropping E at raves and Howland being hands off.
There was a lot to point fingers at. In fairness, we know the feeling at USC. After all, one of our players took money from an would-be agent in San Diego, so naturally we’re the devil. We took our lumps (and dished a few out) and are sitting pretty as Bovada’s favorite to win the National Championship next season with ten less players than any other team. Arrogant. UCLA was listed as 400:1 to win the title, so in two weeks when I am at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas I am placing a bet on them. I figure if they win, it’s a sign of the apocalypse and I’ll need the cash to buy weapons and foods with long shelf lives.
All of this and UCLA did one of the dumbest, most unintentionally cruel things in recent memory recently. UCLA sent out acceptance letters to 894 college applicants who were actually just on the waitlist… And then proceeded not to bite the bullet and let them in. To be fair and clear, they were sending out financial aid documents to every admitted student AND waitlisted hopeful, only they letter was identical. The correspondence included this line: “Once again congratulations on your admission to UCLA, we hope that this information will assist you in making your decision to join the Bruin Family in the fall.”
Bruin Family, indeed. Prospective students, the Bruin Family plays April Fools’ jokes by mistake ten days too late. They take dumps on your heart and attribute it to “human error”. Exactly. They let a Bruin send the email.
After the mistake, they emailed the 894 applicants telling them they were not admitted. In fairness to UCLA, this has happened at UCSD and UCSB, but we don’t play them in football.
I’m not trying to beat a dead bear here, but let me offer some advice to UCLA. Let the kids in. You already have a billion students. What are 894 more? Getting your acceptance to college is one of the biggest moments in your life. It’s the culmination of all the times you wondered why you had to go to high school. These kids actually want to go to UCLA in spite of everything mentioned earlier. In spite of the UC system’s budget issues. In spite of the fact that it’s hard to see a guy in a Bruins hat and wonder if he still watches sports. These kids believe in the school (and it’s a great school, in all seriousness).
In advertising, in social media, in media buying, there is the concept of a “make good”. You fix a problem, especially if you created it. Sure, these kids aren’t owed anything by UCLA. They are on the waitlist. That’s fact. The thing is, you need to make good here, UCLA. Yeah, maybe on some level in some mathematical equation I don’t claim to understand (given the UC system’s finances, guessing you don’t either) letting these kids in costs money. You got their hopes up and then kicked them to the curb.
For once this year, get something right.
In the meantime, here’s Coach Kiffin taking a shot at UCLA just for fun, unprompted:
“It’s not like you’re going on the road against a top-5 opponent like Oregon and we start to coach differently and then the next week against UCLA who is unranked. “
In short, UCLA isn’t ranked and what worked to beat Oregon on the road was good enough for the worst loss in the crosstown rivalry since they invented the television.
Let the damn kids in, UCLA. Be the cool guy for once.