The guys at BruinAuthority.com

Dec 102014
 

Every once in a while we let our site visitors ask us questions. This time, it is specifically about recruiting.

Q: What’s the deal with Biggie? Is he playing with us? – BruinRick

BruinAuthority.com Guys: If you read our Recruiting Monster Board, we address this a little. Iman Marshall (Biggie) has grown up with, and has been, and is surrounded by USC fans. So yes, he has a lot of people pushing him to attend USC. Everyone wants to say that their son, brother, friend, has a full ride to a big time program like USC. But in the end, it is Marshall’s choice. He is the one that has to attend the school everyday, and play for the coaches he chooses. We like UCLA’s chances. As for the allure of USC to his entourage, neither USC or UCLA are the schools of the past. Today, USC has lost to UCLA three straight years, and has some great coaches. We can’t say the same about USC.

Q: Can Rosen compete for the starting job at UCLA from day 1? – Anonymous

BruinAuthority.com Guys: Yes, he is that good but as a true freshman, we can expect the road to be a little bumpy.

Q: Dechaun Holiday or Quinten Meeks? – Randy

BruinAuthority.com Guys: Holiday. Just named San Diego defensive player of the year.

Q: This year is starting to feel like last year in recruiting. We get all hyped up and then on signing day, everyone goes elsewhere. What do you think? – WestwoodRules

BruinAuthority.com Guys: We understand, but we actually feel a lot better than we did at this time last year. The current state of recruiting feels more realistic. Some of the really elite recruits that other sites were saying were heading to UCLA last year, well, we just were not feeling it. We just didn’t understand where all the optimism was coming from. People sometimes hear what they want to hear, and not what the recruits are saying or doing. Who knows how we will end up, but the elite recruits that are showing interest seem to really be interested in UCLA and not just showing respect to our coaches like last year.

Q: Any surprises this year? How about making a crazy prediction? – ArtV

BruinAuthority.com Guys: Serra high school Defensive lineman Rasheem Green is a guy that seems like a real long shot right now, but could be a Bruin at the end of the day. Offensive lineman Dru Samia is another.

Q: Who would you have liked to see us go after harder? – Anonymous

BruinAuthority.com Guys: First name that comes to mind is the receiver from Hart, Trent Irwin. One word for that young man: C-O-M-P-E-T-I-T-O-R. Everyone says he is too slow, maxed out physically, and has already reached his full potential. But you know what? The guy HATES to lose and will go through brick walls to win. Every team needs guys like that.

Q: I think USC is going to kill the bRuins in recruiting now that the sanctions are off. Everyone says Sark is younger and talks the talk of high school kids, more than mora. That is why he was hired. We could have had mora, but we chose Sark. That says it all. – USCAlwaysWins

BruinAuthority.com Guys: Not sure what the question was but Mora is proving to be one of the best recruiting head coaches in college football. We suspect Trojan fans would swap coaches in a second if they had the chance.

Q: I saw your sentence about Kahahakua leaving Wisconsin. You really seem to like him, any chance he comes to UCLA? – Anonymous

BruinAuthority.com Guys: Yeah we really like Chad Kauha’aha’a and actually suggested him last year when we posted our Bruin Coaching Hot Board. Don’t think the timing is right for UCLA – there are no openings and probably won’t be until after the Alamo Bowl. Some school will lock him in by then. He only made $205,000 last year, and will be able to command a lot more than that with his next contract. Sark at USC has a history of making runs after top recruiters. We would not be surprised to hear USC make a play for him.

UCLA RECRUITING MONSTER BOARD HOME PAGE

 UCLA OFFENSIVE RECRUITING MONSTER BOARD

 UCLA DEFENSIVE RECRUITING MONSTER BOARD

 OTHER RECRUITS OF INTEREST

Oct 132014
 

Before going any further, we would like to point out a few things:

First, we know you are getting hammered by the media and certain fan sites.  It is our belief that you have probably forgotten more about football than all the UCLA fan pay site operators have ever known about the sport.

Here, at BruinAuthority.com, we don’t have a financial interest in seeing you fail, or in trying to create controversy around the program.  We don’t need to sell subscriptions to a pay fan site, we don’t need to sell newspapers, and we don’t use this site to create the perception that we are so smart, we can out-coach you.

We created and run this site because of the love of the University, not for the money (there is no money in being an independent fan site), and certainly not for the glory.  In other words, we can say what we think without the pressures of fattening our wallets, having agendas, or needing to pretend we know more about the game than you.

We are just fans who care about the University and support the program.

Now that is out of the way, we can begin.

UCLA is a great University.  A world class University.  A University that is known across the globe.  One of us remembers visiting Shanghai,  China, and coming across a UCLA store. We have since found that there are many of these stores around the world.   Why would people in Shanghai buy UCLA gear?  Because UCLA is one of the most recognized educational brands in the world.   We are BIG.

And academically, UCLA is highly ranked on just about every educational ranking site.  It is a great school, and our graduates are proud of that degree.  They know what it took to get it.  The value of that degree is something you sell to recruits everyday.

It is also a beautiful school.  Just about every alum can remember walking around campus as a student and thinking how lucky they were to be there.  How proud they were, and still are.  There are great memories AND there is a very strong identification that both alums and fans have with this special University.

That manifests itself the most with the athletic programs, particularly football and basketball.  In some ways, UCLA football and basketball are extensions of our UCLA experience, and provide us with some of our best memories.  These programs are important to us, and it goes deeper than just being a fan.  It is in a way, part of our identification, and we have entrusted you with it.

In basketball, we were blessed, and spoiled, to have possibly the greatest coach in history, in any sport, John R. Wooden.   Not only was he a great coach, but he was a great man.  Loyal, honorable, dedicated to his staff and players, and of course a winner.

However in football, it has been a very different story.  UCLA last won a national championship in 1954.  That is before most of the current fan base was even born.  That is before you were born.

UCLA football has been a mostly frustrating experience for the average UCLA fan for decades.  As stated above, the University is blessed with a spectacular campus, beautiful weather, one of the greatest stadiums in the country, a world-wide academic reputation, and is located in an area that most of the rest of the people in this country wish they could live in.

Yet, in spite of all these advantages, we seem to have continued to under-perform year after year.

And the frustration is not just about expectations.  It is also about being in the same town with another school, a football factory if you will, that seemingly has few of the natural advantages of UCLA.  A school that has repeatedly chosen the low road when it comes to sportsmanship.  An example is the 2009 game, with USC ahead 21-7 and with 54 seconds left in the game – the honorable thing to do would be to run down the clock.  Instead, USC head coach Pete Carroll decided to pour it on, and USC scored on a 48 yard bomb.  What was the point?  Evidently, to humiliate the UCLA players, among other things.  We have quite a few of these examples from over the years, and we don’t forget.

Also, remember UCLA played in the Coliseum up until 1984.   That’s right, we played all our home games in our biggest rival’s home stadium.  Think for a moment about how that can affect a fan base.

The media has not helped either.  Everyone loves a winner and the local media is no exception.  USC has a history of winning and the local media has a history of pumping it.  As we were sitting around working on this article, one of the writers recalled a game day in the 1970’s.  UCLA had just soundly beaten a nationally ranked team, and USC had just avoided a an embarrassing loss to a doormat.  Driving proudly back to campus from the game, feeling good about the team’s performance and how it should change perceptions, he was listening to a radio station no longer around, by the name of KHJ.  As the station was updating the day’s scores, the announcer said something like,  “UCLA slipped past their opponent, but USC TOTALLY DESTROYED theirs.”  40 years later, a Bruin fan still remembers the slight.

The point of all this is that historically, UCLA fans have felt the program had everything needed to succeed, yet due to weak athletic administrations, poor (but very safe) choices of coaches, high admission standards, and other elements, we have been doomed to always be seen as number two when it comes to Los Angeles football.

Then you came along.

A coach’s coach.  A player’s coach. A fan’s coach.  A fiery competitor.  A man who cares about his family and the community.  A guy who doesn’t care about the past or the history with USC.  For the first time in years, there was really new life in the program.  New optimism.  A feeling that there really could be a shift in the football culture of California.  Things could and WILL be different.

And it is not just you, your staff is clearly made up of high octane coaches that care not just about winning, but also about their players.  And the players! The character of the young men you have recruited should be the envy of most other programs.   Their visits to hospitals, the taking of younger players under the wings of the older ones, their reaching out to children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses, and their respect for number “36,” have not gone unnoticed.

So what’s that mean for you?  It means both the spotlight, and the target.  And with that comes the bashing, often by the very same people who had a financial interest in hyping you as a pre-season national title contender.

Now, times are tough.  Two straight losses, dropping out of the top 25, and the luster of the season is off.  No one is happy, including you.  Especially you.  But you know what?  We have great fans.  We have supportive fans.  The Utah game was among the loudest we have attended in decades.  The Oregon game reportedly broke the record for student attendance.  Season ticket sales are at an all-time high, in fact, the expensive premium seats in the Terry Donahue Pavilion have completely sold out.

We believe most fans are still behind you.  We want you to succeed.  We are rooting for you.

All we ask, is that you continue to be a coach that learns.  A coach that can put the ego aside and be willing to change if necessary.  Don’t let stubbornness interfere with the success of your players or your coaches.  We don’t know that this is even happening, but as managers and former managers, we know it is easy to get a sort of tunnel vision and overlook what sometimes may seem obvious to others.

Wooden wasn’t always a championship winner.  He coached UCLA from 1948 to 1963 before his first national championship.  He learned every season, he perfected his coaching and leadership every season, he created a system over those years that would be the foundation for his 10 national championships.  UCLA has a great history of coaches who have learned from the Wooden legacy.  We hope you are open to being one of them.

It can still be a good season and we are standing tall, taking the very public position of supporting you.  Like you, we’ll take some hits for it, but also like you, we plan to just keep on grinding.

Go get ’em Coach!

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Oct 052014
 

Several of the Bruin Authority guys were at the game and saw it unfold up close and in person. We are some of the most hardcore fans, and so of course, we are disappointed.

Generally we refrain from criticizing our coaches on this site and we never criticize the players. However, this game seemed to validate what we have been thinking since the Virginia game.

We are not going to go into a drawn out blasting of the game play-by-play here. Everyone saw what happened and if you are a glutton for punishment, you can read that on just about every other site. But we will go into what we think is the real issue facing this team moving forward.

Let’s start with the offense. Three straight sacks on Hundley within a single drive. Ten sacks overall in the game. Those numbers are epic, and not in a good way.   They make it easy to criticize Mazzone, Klemm, Mora and other coaches.  But the truth is that each of these coaches has forgotten more about football than guys like Tracy Pierson, Edward Lewis, the BN guys, Jack Wang, us, and all the rest of the self anointed “experts” put together will ever know.

And it is not just the offense, the defense was certainly not at its best Saturday night either. Several times we noticed defensive players out of position, or looking a little lost.

So why is this happening? We believe there is clearly a disconnect between what the coaches think our players can do, and what the players are really capable of doing.

Maybe it is because some of the coaches are used to coaching NFL caliber guys. Perhaps, some of them are still learning the college game. Then again some of the coaches have been built up as superstars by sites trying to gain favor with them, as well as trying to increase paid subscribers. Perhaps some Bruin coaches are just adequate coaches and not the Knute Rocknes that the paid sites have hyped them out to be. Now, some of these coaches are top of the line recruiters, but that obviously does not automatically translate to coaching acumen.

When we look at the game play-by-play, and overall, we get the impression that the players are just plain confused. They seem to be thinking too much. Hundley needs too much time to throw. The running backs repeatedly miss picking up the blitzes. The offensive linemen miss their assignments. The secondary is sometimes seen trying to figure out where they should be. Even Myles Jack was seen wandering as a play was starting.

Perhaps both the offensive and defensive players are being given too many options, and asked to make too many decisions, on every play. For any player, whether in high school, college, or pros, it takes time to absorb the mental side of what is being asked of them.

In the NFL, football is a full time affair. The Pros may spend more time watching film with their coaches than the UCLA players even practice. On the other hand, the time UCLA coaches can spend preparing players, is limited by NCAA rules. Not to mention that UCLA football players are student athletes – they go to class and have a similar academic burden as a regular student. Those who have attended UCLA know that is not something to be taken lightly. They can’t spend 24/7/365 on UCLA football like the NFL guys can.

Also, college football players come in with varying degrees of preparedness for the college game. Some have been playing with good coaches since they were small children. On the other hand, others only took up the sport in high school and while good athletes, are still very green in understanding the game. Others have changed positions and are learning.

The point is, there are a lot of reasons to SIMPLIFY the game for some, or all players. When you make them think too much, you have problems, and we believe they are being asked to think too much. On one hand, it is a testament to the players we have, that the coaches have so much confidence in them. On the other hand, it may be easy to forget these are just young men, 18-22 years old with a lot to learn.

Some coaches take the position that you must demand, and expect your players to perform at a level higher than what they are capable of.  The theory being that this will motivate the player to improve, and always give them something to strive for.  We believe that too, but there is always a ceiling on what a player can accomplish, and a coach must know what that limit is.

We would like to see the team get back to basics. We are reminded of Wooden’s approach. Keep the players in good shape, constantly work on fundamentals, and practice the same plays over and over. The plays were designed to the strengths of the team and when run to perfection, were unstoppable. They became instinctual to the team.

Simplify the offense. Simplify the defense. Give the players confidence to use their instincts and natural talents. When a player has to think too much, he loses his instincts and it limits his talent.

Are we being simplistic?  Maybe.  After all, schemes, concepts, play calling (offensive and defensive), match ups,  and many other things all come into play for a team’s success.  Then again, maybe all these things are just excuses for adding more complicated layers to the confusion.

We have great players. They are bright, talented, good citizens, and we should all be proud of them. Our coaches need to put them in a position to succeed. The coaches know how to do that and just about every reader of this site understands this concept.

This season is not over, and we hope that this coaching staff is not stubborn, is willing to check the egos at the door, and and is willing to begin an honest self-examination as to how it approaches these players and each game.  The coaches are people, and like all people they have their insecurities and pride.  They may be concerned about sales of the coaching systems they sell.  They may believe that accepting other coaching philosophies may show a flaw in their own coaching beliefs.  They may think that admitting something is not working will damage their career aspirations.   Who knows, but we do know that winning will fix all those things and more, regardless of how much it deviates from what they have been preaching.  And sticking to their guns will only hurt them if they are losing, or under performing.

Back in August, we thought this could be a magical season for UCLA football.  It could still be a good one, but the coaching transformation must start now.  This week.

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NEW: An Open Letter To Coach Mora

Coming soon, the BruinAuthority.com 2015 recruiting board.

Can’t get to a game, or can’t get the PAC-12 Network?  Check out our ever growing list of restaurants, pubs, and other venues that play PAC-12 Network games HERE.

BruinAuthority.com home

Sep 152014
 

We know we are a UCLA fan site, but there is just so much to talk about with USC. We frankly, can’t resist it. Also, it is always good to have a historic record of Trojan activity, in case the USC marketing department decides to change history again.

In a season where USC has had more blunders than we can remember, they have out done themselves.

Let’s review the past three weeks at USC:

  • USC’s Team Captain positioned himself as a hero when he lied about saving a drowning child. The Trojan marketing department gets it in every newspaper in the country and becomes a laughingstock because of reports like this.
  • A fifth year senior quits the team, calling the head coach a racist.
  • During the Stanford game, USC compliance Officials are caught illegally texting Athletic Director Pat Haden to come down on the field and confront the officials over a call.
  • After receiving the text, Haden runs onto the field and across it to confront the officials. Haden, a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, has an “emotional outburst,” tries to intimidate officials and gets fined $25,000. From the PAC-12 press release, “The conduct by USC Athletics Director Pat Haden was inappropriate,” said Pac-12 comissioner Larry Scott. “Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.”
  • USC coach Sarkisian then gets hit with an unsportsman like conduct penalty. When asked about Haden’s attempt to intimidate the officials, Sarkisian replies with the immortal words “He’s a Trojan, man.
  • ESPN calls “USC a Clown College” and Hitler doesn’t like it.
  • Washington Coach Chris Petersen criticizes how Sark left the program.
  • Their star linebacker gets ejected from the Stanford game for targeting with his helmet Stanford’s best player.
  • The Los Angeles Daily News calls USC “Drama U.

And now we find the that Trojan program may have sunk to new depths in their epic loss to Boston College. This was a very emotional game for BC. They were honoring BC alum Welles Crowther. A volunteer firefighter who saved at least 12 people during 9/11. He gave his life going back into the South Tower of the World Trade Center a THIRD time to rescue trapped victims. A true hero and someone that deserved to be honored.

We wish that were the end of the story but according to multiple reports, USC players, instead of being humbled by what this man did, decided that it was a great opportunity to disrespect Boston College, its players, and everyone in attendance for this memorial. As the Boston College players were trying to come out of their tunnel before the game, the Trojan players blocked the entrance and “stood by the torch towers, dancing and taunting the large, gold BC banner behind which the Eagles stood.

They would not leave until the referees came over and forced them to.

We have also seen references to the taunting at BC by USC fans who attended the game. Even the Trojan fans were embarrassed, if you can believe that.

Of course, this is not the first time we have heard of USC taunting and disrespecting opponents. It happened when they played Fresno State.

Yes, just another typical season at USC.

Aug 052014
 

With number 7 ranked UCLA having its first practice Monday, the Bruin Authority guys had a chance to scout out the digs and here is the scoop.

SCHEDULE:

Practices last about two hours, and all practices are open to the public. Here is the schedule:

Monday, August 4 – 3 p.m.

Tuesday, August 5 – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, August 6 – 3 p.m.

Thursday, August 7 – 3 p.m.

Friday, August 8 – 3 p.m.

Saturday, August 9 – 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Monday, August 11 – 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 12 – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, August 13 – 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Thursday, August 14 – 11:15 a.m.

Friday, August 15 – 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Saturday, August 16 – 10:45 a.m.

WHERE:

Cal State University, San Bernardino

5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407 (909) 537-5000

The campus is located in what feels like a safe, suburban setting in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From UCLA: Take to I-10 East, to I-215 North. Exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • Pasadena: Take I-210 East to I-215 North. Exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • Orange County: Take Highway 91 East, which becomes I-215 North in Riverside. Continue on I-215, and exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • Riverside: Take Highway 91 East, which becomes I-215 North in Riverside. Continue on I-215, and exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • High Desert areas: Take I-15 South, to I-215 South. Exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn left. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • Palm Springs area: Take I-10 West, to I-215 North. Exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.
  • San Diego area: Take I-15 North, to I-215 North. Exit at University Parkway in San Bernardino and turn right. Proceed along University Parkway and turn right on Northpark Blvd. Turn left on Coyote Blvd.

TIPS AND DETAILS:

University Parkway is the main entrance onto the campus.  Once on Northpark Blvd, you will have to drive a little way, passing Seranno Village Drive, Lot D and Lot F before arriving at Coyote Blvd.  After turning left onto Coyote Blvd, you will see a parking kiosk.  Pull up to it and tell them you want to park in Lot G.  They will ask you to pay a $5 parking fee.  We have noticed other sites tell fans to park in either Lot G or Lot H.  This is from people who are probably looking at a map and have not been there.   Lot G is very close to the practice fields.  While you can park in Lot H, you will be taking an unnecessary walk, which may be unpleasant on particularly hot days.

If the parking kiosk is closed, there are parking machines that will issue a parking permit.  We did not see anyone issuing parking tickets and suspect that they are more lax during the summer.  However we paid, and would probably suggest you do as well to avoid a ticket.

After passing the parking kiosk, you will shortly turn right into Lot G.  From there, the practice field is roughly northeast.  So after turning into Lot G, drive straight ahead to the fence and turn left.  Go as far as you can to get close to the practice field. The only building in the area is the Student Rec Center.  From your car, head toward that building.  From there, walk to the right (east) and as you round the corner (turning left), you will see the practice field straight ahead and to the right.  The rest room is also near that corner.

There is a media only area and a fan area.  There are usually sheets of paper with the player’s names and practice roster numbers.  We would strongly suggest you find one.  Sometimes they are on a table, sometimes someone is walking around passing them out.  If you don’t see them, ask one of the young guys working there, they are really helpful and friendly to the fans.

There is grass to sit on, but no bleachers, or benches.  For that reason, we suggest you bring lawn chairs.  There is some shade under trees, and if you get there early enough you will be able to snag a good shady spot.

Fans have been asking us where the best place to watch is, and that is hard to answer because they practice on more than one field, and seem to move around a little.  Generally, there are not a lot of viewing choices, and seems even less than in past years.  So we suggest that at first, you focus on a central location that has shade.  Basically, the idea is to grab a comfortable spot before they are all gone (the shady, grassy areas fill up fast).  If necessary, you can then move around once you see where each unit is practicing and where there is available seating.  To view the furthest players practicing, you may need binoculars regardless of where you sit.

There are no concession stands or vending machines nearby.  However, if you have time and want to walk around campus, there are a number of places to eat on campus that are open during the summer, including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and several sandwich type places.  You can get their summer hours of operation and campus locations HERE.

The practice field area has enough grass, and it is pleasant enough that you can have a nice picnic, especially if you bring the family.  If you don’t want to bring your own food, or walk around campus to eat, there are many fast food places in the area so you can easily stop by one just before driving onto campus.  In fact, to get to the practice facility on University Parkway, you will pass an IHOP, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Cold Stone Creamery,  El Pollo Loco, KFC, Farmer Boys (a local chain), Del Taco, and Yogurt Land.  There is also a Ralphs if you want to get a jug of water on a hot day.

AREA ATTRACTIONS:

If you are driving far, you may want to take advantage of other things in the area.

On campus is the Fullerton Museum of Art.  Noted for a very large collection of Egyptian antiquities.  More info HERE.  (UPDATE: we are hearing the museum may be closed for a while for some remodeling work, so you may want to verify it is open when you will be there.)

San Manuel Indian Casino – a few minutes away, this is one of the largest Indian casinos in California.  San Manual is also likely the most profitable.  They also have a good buffet and a nice restaurant.  If you go, get a “player’s card.”  It will give you some free money to gamble with, as well as discounts on food.  Unfortunately, there is no hotel on site so you will have to drive back.  More info HERE.

Lake Arrowhead –  the campus is close to the main road to this resort town.   On a hot day, it might be the perfect opportunity to get away and cool down in the mountains.  More info HERE.

Restaurants: Well, this area is not necessarily known for its fine dining, but all the chain restaurants can be found here.  As mentioned above, San Manual Casino is nearby and has several types of dining options including a very nice restaurant.  In the city of San Bernardino itself, there is sort of a restaurant row located on Hospitality Lane.  Hospitality Lane runs parallel to the I-10 on the north side, and just east of the I-10 and I-210 interchange (you will probably drive right past here, both going and coming from the practice).  On this road, within about a half mile or less, can be found a Souplantation, El Torito, Red Lobster, IHOP, Claim Jumper, Margarita Beach, TGI Fridays, Chili’s, Mimi’s Cafe, Delhi Palace, and Olive Garden.

If you want to make a trip out of it, the campus is near the routes going to Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, and Phoenix.

MAPS:

CSUSB_UCLA

Jul 212014
 

We had several fans tell us that they are sure Nike pays as much or more than Adidas.  They also feel that if UCLA hired Nike, then Nike would promote UCLA more and therefore sell a lot more as well.

We will tackle the second point first.   Adidas is not hired to “promote UCLA.”  UCLA is responsible for that and they have outside firms they work with to help.  Currently IMG represents UCLA athletics for licensing, media deals, and sponsorships, and before IMG, it was ISP Sports.  Within the Athletic Department, there is also the Marketing and Business Development Office, run by Scott Mitchell.  Schools do not go to the athletic apparel companies asking them to promote the school.  The athletic apparel companies go to the schools and ask if they can pay the school to be the official provider of the teams athletic gear.   With that they get merchandising rights and other opportunities to make money off the school brand.

When picking the company, most schools sell the whole package to the athletic apparel companies.  So the school has to think about more than just the football team. They have to think about the basketball team, the baseball team, the track team etc…

As for Nike being better at promoting UCLA athletics, all you have to do is look across town at USC where many of their fans dislike Nike and USC itself seems to be trying to distance itself from the famous shoe company.  You know what they say about the grass is always greener…

What will sell UCLA gear is UCLA winning and winning big.  Period.  If UCLA is not winning, neither Nike or anyone else is going to make UCLA gear look like a hot commodity.

Anyone think Nike can contract with, oh, say, Cal State Northridge (no offense to CSN fans or alums) and market them and make everyone in the country want one of their sweatshirts?  The answer is no because it is not as simple as some want to believe it is.  However, if Northridge started a D-1 football team, and ran off a couple national championships and a few Heismans like USC did a decade ago, Nike would look like brilliant marketers.  Maybe it is that simple – winning cures all ills.

Another example is the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.  A few years ago, they were a school that few out of the immediate area had ever heard of.  Then Bob Huggins came along and took them deep into the NCAA basketball tournament.  His days there with a successful basketball team completely changed the perception, image, and awareness of this regional school.  Apparel sales went through the roof, student applications increased significantly, donors started coming out of the woodwork.  This had little to do with an apparel company “marketing” the university, but it had EVERYTHING to do with winning.

You think Butler University is a household name with college basketball fans because of Nike?  We don’t.  We think it is because of several deep runs in March Madness.

Anyway, you can disagree with us, but at least you get where we are coming from.

As for Nike paying more, we found a source that compared all the athletic apparel contracts of public universities (private schools like USC don’t have to disclose this information).  This is what they found for the PAC-12:

University of Oregon (NIKE U), 2013/14, $2.2 million in equipment, $600,000 in cash.

Oregon State University, Nike, 2013,14, $2.097 million in equipment, zero in cash.

Arizona State University, Nike, 2013/2014, $1.475 million in equipment, $350,000 in cash.

UC Berkeley, Nike, 2013/14, $1.8 million in equipment, $150,000 in cash.

University of Colorado, Nike, 2013/14 $1.565 million in equipment , $400,000 in cash.

University of Utah, Under Armour, 2013/2014, $1.816 million in equipment, $550,000 in cash.

University of Washington, Nike, 2013/2014, $2.6 million in equipment, $600,000 in cash.

Washington State University, Nike, 2013/2014 $1.2 million  in equipment, $200,000 in cash.

UCLA, Adidas, 2013/14, $2 million in equipment, $3.5 million cash. Note that Adidas and UCLA list the equipment value as wholesale, and the retail value is $3.6 million.  From our understanding, all the other schools on this list are stating the retail value of the equipment.

The UCLA contract is significantly better than any other PAC-12 public university.  It is almost twice the next highest contract and surprisingly, even higher than “Nike U,” the University of Oregon (although we suspect there are major perks associated with the contract).

Stanford and USC do not have to release their contract details but based on the above, we would assume Stanford may be a little above the ASU range.

USC is trickier.  USC left Nike to sign a 10 year marketing deal with Silver Star Merchandising, owned by Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys NFL team.  That contract allows SSM to manufacture, license, and distribute all of USC’s athletic apparel.  Nike will still be supplying on-field uniforms.  So we really don’t know the extent of USC’s connection with Nike or how lucrative it is.  We have to assume under the circumstances, USC believes it can do better than Nike.

Perhaps as USC’s on field success faded, so did Nike’s interest in how much it was willing to pay the Trojans, or to even market them.

 

Jul 212014
 

Bruin Seali’i Epenesa was released today by the New England Patriots

Bruin Seali’i Epenesa was released today by the New England Patriots. Epenesa was a fine contributor to the team with 16 tackles in seven starts for the team as a senior. Undrafted, Epenesa was signed by the Patriots in June. BruinAuthority.com notes: We loved Epenesa, a true Bruin, and hope he is able to catch on somewhere. His fantastic family always had awesome tailgate parties as well. Good luck, Seali’i.

Big 12 Commissioner Slams NCAA: ‘Cheating Pays’ In College Football

In his state of the league address today, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says “enforcement is broken.” We are hearing Heritage Hall over at USC hit 6.0 on the Richter scale after the Trojan boosters got wind of this revelation. Anyway, nothing earth shattering here except that instead of coming from some rabid fan, it comes from a major voice in college sports.

LINK HERE

University of Miami Mascot Walks Bride Down The Aisle

In keeping with our world wide reputation of being a bunch of ass kicking, take no prisoners Bruin neanderthals, we generally are not the sentimental type or in touch with our feminine side. However, we thought this story was kind of cool.

The bride’s father passed away shortly before her big day. In his place came the University of Miami mascot, Sebastian the Ibis (yeah, we though the same thing as you when we read that name). The mascot wore her father’s nickname on the back of his jersey. The family members are big fans of the football team.

See story and video HERE.

Fred Ulu-Perry Interview

Our friend Brett Pierce has a new site called Pac12Recruiting.com.  Today he has a nice interview with Fred Ulu-Perry (downer alert: he is still taking some official trips to other schools), and he plans to take his official UCLA visit on the weekend of the Oregon game.  That is shaping up to be a MONSTER recruiting weekend.

One new piece of trivia we learned from the story is that Fred’s Mililani High School in Hawai’i will be playing Bruin commit Josh Rosen’s St John Bosco High School this season.

 Check out Brett’s interview HERE. 

Commitment Coming?

A source of ours who is usually in the know says that a commitment is eminent. We are not talking about Rick Wade or Bryce English.

Don’t hold us to it though. These kids have a lot of people in their ears and frequently change their minds. Sometimes they commit silently as well too. This source has been rock solid for us in the past and has serious connections so we are just passing it on (he was our source when we were the FIRST to break the story that Kennedy Polamalu had been contacted by Mora for the running back coaching position). He says the coaches are telling certain recruits that positions are getting taken up fast and they need to know where each recruit stands. The implication being that UCLA can’t hold certain scholarship offers out there indefinitely. The recruits are taking notice.

Jul 162014
 

UPDATE 07/21/2014 – a lot of talk about the new uniforms and who UCLA should be contracting with…Nike, Adidas, Under Armour.  We decided to take a deeper look into the PAC-12 and the shoe contracts of each school.  Take a look HERE to read “UCLA and the Nike / Adidas Wars.

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A few minutes ago, UCLA announced a new alternate uniform for the 2014 season called LA Steel.

As old school guys, we were not so happy to hear UCLA would be toying with alternate uniforms a few years ago. We love tradition, and especially college football tradition. The traditional blue and gold were to be left alone we thought.

However, that was then, and this is now. We have softened our stance quite a bit since then. The University is doing a good job of balancing the old with the new and not overdoing it.

Adidas still has some work to do to make us happy and we feel their marketing can be improved. But overall, we view them as going in the right direction.

And a little change is what the fans want to see from time to time, not to mention the recruits. It keeps UCLA Football current, and is great for recruiting. It also brings in new revenue to the University with increased merchandise sales. Major publicity too, CBS, ESPN, USA Today, Sporting News and everyone else is reporting it. Heck, even USC, (you know, the guys who claim they NEVER change their uniforms because of tradition) are messing with their uniforms this season – the Christmas Bulb Helmets.

Having said all that, here is the new LA Steel uniform. We have no objection to the name, and in fact kind of like it. The uniform design has a very contemporary feel to us as well.

Most importantly, we suspect the players are going to dig these new threads!

Here is what may be the most complete set of photos you will find on the Internet of these new unis.

adidas-UCLA-LA-Steel-1

adidas-UCLA-LA-Steel-2

Adidas-UCLA-LA-Steel-4

Adidas-UCLA-LA-Steel-5



While we like the new unis, we think the replica jerseys for sale in the student store are not particularly interesting. We’ll wait until we see them in person. Would you buy this?

Adidas-UCLA-LA-Steel_6

From the UCLA press release:

UCLA, adidas Unveil New TECHFIT Football Alternate Uniforms

UCLA and adidas today unveiled a new TECHFIT football alternate uniform for the 2014 season.

The new “LA Steel” look marks the first grey uniform in school history. The Bruins’ jerseys and pants are rendered in rich dark onyx grey and feature ultra-light metallic embellishments that shimmer, paying tribute to the bright lights of Los Angeles. UCLA’s famous shoulder stripes complement the city skyline that appears on the sleeves of the TECHFIT compression base layer and the UCLA script mark on the pants. The uniform numbers are inspired by UCLA’s own signature stripes.

UCLA’s new alternate uniform also features TECHFIT Shockweb technology, one of the most advanced compression systems in the industry. Shockweb clings tightly to the body, making players more difficult to tackle. TECHFIT’s lightweight material allows players to perform at the highest levels by making them faster and increasing their range of motion.