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It's just another game for UCLA

By Traci Mack
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 9, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

So let me get this straight -y ou guys think you can steal the title of the Pac-10's premiere basketball school right out from under our noses, and then try to beat us in football too?

Yeah, sure, when Tuscon freezes over.

To be fair, at the beginning of the season, this game didn't look very important at all - just another blip on the radar on the way to another Pac-10 title and possibly a national championship. We were looking forward to leaving some Wildcat roadkill on that road to the Rose Bowl. But as Chris Berman says, "That's why they play the games." Now, astounding things have happened - Oregon actually won a couple, Southern Cal has only suspended one player so far, and the Desert Swarm has been resurrected.

(A Pac-10 side note - didn't there used to be another college football team in Arizona?)

When I was asked to write a piece for the Wildcat, I was relishing the opportunity to lay down every single reason why Cade and the boys were going to toast the Wildcats like a Pop-Tart, but then I realized - you guys don't need any more motivation. Did you approach UW's sports editor for his opinion too? At any rate, I've decided to take the high road and not work you guys over like I do 'SC every year. When one thinks about it, our schools have much in common - high temperatures, gorgeous campuses, basketball coaches with hair that doesn't move. We've got no animosity to good ol' Wilbur the Wildcat in Westwood (until hoops season starts, then all bets are off). So there's really no reason to go the "ha ha you suck, we're gonna win" route in this column. No derogatory statements about the Wildcat squad will even cross my mind.

I will even go so far not to hazard a prediction for Saturday's game. But I will tell you a few reasons why our football team has a damn good chance at finishing at the top of the Pac-10:

Cade McNown. For God's sake, the man has a bad day and passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns. Your quarterback's endzone leap was truly amazing, but he failed to stick the dismount. On the other hand, Cade not only risked his neck (or where it's supposed to be) by leaping into the endzone last Saturday, he also almost gave the entire UCLA Athletic Department a heart attack. Think about it, he could've broken the hand he'll have to shake with when he wins the Heisman next year.

Our offensive line. They've been the key all along to our success, because let's face it, Cade may be good, but he can't throw TDs if he's horizontal. Our line has been instrumental in making sure that McNown doesn't get turned into a McNugget by opposing defenses, and they've been doing a hell of a job bulldozing through defensive lines. Just call Kris Farris and Co. "Bisquick" - instant pancakes, baby.

Our entire defense. Despite some early season rumors the Bruin defense was not going to be up to par due to lack of experience, they've been splendid. Our linemen and linebackers have been collecting sacks like mad (note to quarterback: be sure to introduce yourself to ILB Tony White at the beginning of the game, because you'll be up close and personal with him all night long). Bruin cornerbacks have been downright stingy, picking off passes like crazy, making receivers more nervous than Trojans during finals week.

Last but certainly not least: Head Coach Bob Toledo, master of the trick play. The man turns more tricks than a 99 cent prostitute. These days, Bob can be found walking around campus with a huge smile on his face, so who knows what else he's got up his sleeve.

So, all things considered, this game should definitely be one for the books. Three outstanding quarterbacks, two explosive running games, and a big boost in the standings for the winner. It's definitely going to be a hot one in Tucson on Saturday.

But then, isn't it always?

Traci Mack, the Sports Editor of the Daily Bruin, can't decide which Bibby she likes less. She apologizes to the Bruin faithful for being so diplomatic in her column. Responses, questions, and death threats can be sent to tmack@media.ucla.edu.