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College Football Hist-O-Graph Project - #13: UCLA Bruins

Examining Colorado, Pac-12, and Big XII Football over the last 10 years using the Hist-O-Graph...and then saying stuff.

This week our pair of teams are perennially better at Basketball than they are Football.  Any discussion with their fans will have you adding 'in football' to everything you say, because they're genuinely confused as to why you're ripping their storied and successful program (not in football).

Neither has won their conference in the last decade (ever in one case), which is common in the Big-12, and uncommon in the Pac-10.  They've each also only had one good season over the last ten years; solidifying that both UCLA and Kansas are ultimately Basketball-first... ...and Football-maybe.

The UCLA Bruins Hist-O-Graph: Doing Less With More


If anyone tries to tell you that UCLA is a 'storied and strong' program (in football), laugh.  They may play in the Rose Bowl, but they don't play in the Rose Bowl. At least not often, and not since '98, their last Pac-10 Championship.

They may have a National Championship (in '54), and a Heisman trophy winner (in '67), but ask them how many points Karim Abdul-Jabbar scored (in football), or how many all time wins they have (in football) and if it's more or less than Kansas... It isn't.

That Pac-10 Championship was their second in a row ('97-'98), but by '02 the school had forgotten about all that, and fired Bob Toledo so hard that he wound up at New Mexico.

His successor was Karl Dorrell, who led them to their best year of the decade in '05, and a high-water mark of beating Northwestern in the Sun Bowl.  That's when Jon Embree was there, by the way...

"I look back at my times at UCLA fondly. We were part of their fifth 10-win season ever in 2005 and we had six comebacks for the ages.

By that time Colorado had already had 7 10+ win seasons. In that 10-win season, UCLA narrowly missed winning (or co-winning, I'm not clear when that happens) the Pac-10 when they lost to a (3-8) Arizona team 14-52 (Sound familiar?) and then lost to the best college football team ever assembled ever, the '05 USC Trojans (12-1) who beat the Bruins 19-66 (in football).

Most of you will know the rest of the story; Dorrell out ('07), Neuheisal in. Pistol in, Chow out ('11, Neuheisal out ('12). Oh... that hasn't happened yet? Look at the chart. Looks like it's already happened to me.

The lurking truth about UCLA that their fans will tell you about is that they have no business being anything but great. You can see it in the chart. Look at their recruiting, and the 4 and 5 star guys they get year in and year out, and there isn't another team in all of college football that is doing less with more.

Their bowl-game wins typify their under-achievement: Northwestern, Temple, New Mexico? Are you serious? That's it by the way: they've also lost to an 11-win BYU team, 9-win Wisconsin and Fresno, and 7-win Florida St and powerhouse Wyoming.

Their fans have a right to pretend that their football team doesn't exist; because if it weren't for the Rose Bowl, it probably wouldn't.

The Kansas Jayhawks Hist-O-Graph: One and Done


573-540. That's Kansas's's total number of wins (in football) compared to UCLA. Part of that is because they've been playing football since 1890...and that's where the bragging ends. All 3 of their outright conference championships came before World War II, the Great Depression, and your Mom (barely).

As for this century, they're very much like UCLA, Kansas had one good year in football and then the rest is basketball. Most of you know the story; of how Kansas had 6 consecutive seasons non-winning seasons and then brought on Mangino in '02.

Then, all of a sudden, six years later they'd figured out that Texas has football recruits and that while Nebraska and Colorado were crappy that they needed to get winnin' while the winnin' was good.

Their high-water mark was to imitate their longest-running rival and pull an almost-Nebraska: win 11 games in a row heading into their regular-season finale against Mizzou; lose it, not play in any Big-12 Championship game (in football) and go onto a BCS game. The GJayhawks beat VaTech, and then Mangino got all hit-ty with the players. And now? Well, you can see that they're headed right back to where they were.

We always used to handle that basketball school well (in football), and the same goes for UCLA. The Bruins do play in the Rose Bowl, and it is a special place (and not just because there's nowhere to use the restroom). We may be 2-4 against the Bruins all-time, but now's the time to turn that around.

This is our Bowl Game, and our Road Game, and we've got to win!

Go Buffs! Let's beat those Bruins!


#1: Introduction: Colorado and the Hist-O-Graph - It explains *mostly* everything

#2: The Three Kings: Texas, Oklahoma, and USC

#3: California Bears Have A Deal With the Devil, and the Missouri Tigers

#4: The Colorado State Rams Suck

#5: Ohio State Buckeyes: OSU, the OSU, and the other OSU

#6: Washington State Cougars and Iowa State Cyclones: Just... How?

#7: Stanford Cardinal and Texas A&M Aggies: Luck Has Everything to do With It

#8: Washington Huskies and Kansas State Wildcats: Here Comes a New Challenger!

#9: Oregon Ducks and Texas Longhorns: Here there be Monsters

#10: Arizona State Sun Devils and Texas Tech Red Raiders: Good in their Own Special Way

#11: USC Trojans and Oklahoma Sooners: Still Wearing No Pants

#12: Arizona Cardinals and Baylor Bears: Drawing the Short Straw