UCLA football lost to Oregon State, and we’re heartbroken.
Because UCLA was poised to have a magical season that no one saw coming, including staying atop the Pac-12 South for the majority of the season and staying undefeated for longer than just three weeks.
But teams with a freshman starting at QB aren’t supposed to air it out so well for so long. Squads with the majority of the offensive line consisting of first-year starters aren’t supposed to create such large holes against decent front-sevens all season long. And our defense won’t always be able to put up enough points to make up for an offense’s ineffectiveness.
We know, UCLA’s loss to OSU was sloppy and, considering the way the Bruin offense staggered last week against Houston, it was entirely concerning. The offensive line and the UCLA secondary proved to be the problems we were fully expecting the Bruins to have, and the bumps we felt QB Brett Hundley could encounter this season have been the ones we’re beginning to see him encounter and those bumps have only been magnified the past two weeks.
This team, under a new coaching staff, a new mindset, is going through its growing pains. Because our aspirations needed to be brought down to the level of our talent. Our secondary and offensive line were playing far better than what they were supposed to, and now things have averaged out and teams can now take advantage.
Everything else was fine, and this loss wasn’t embarrassing. It was a loss, not a beatdown. And, just like any other loss, UCLA might’ve been ahead at the end of it had just a few less penalties been committed and a few less passes dropped. If UCLA played a perfect game, we would’ve beaten OSU.
We didn’t though, and no one ever does. The mistakes UCLA made weren’t egregious, but rather, the team is still trying to gain some traction. We can’t get down on this team, thinking “the UCLA of old has emerged, and we’re back right to where we started.” We can sit here and bitch and moan about how Mazzone ran the ball more often than we’d like to the tune of just 72 yards, or that the group didn’t come out disciplined enough, while we glare at Jim Mora with the same stare we gave Rick Neuheisel back in November of 2011.
But while UCLA had its fair share of faults and mental lapses, we can’t be discouraged and lose faith in this team, despite the fan-base needing just one goddamn reason to question whether UCLA’s first three games were all a fluke.
This squad will live and learn, and while we’re ticked that UCLA lost the way it did — partly due to our own, slippery, unreliable hands and partly due to Oregon State’s newfound grit — all it is, is a reminder for us to temper our wild expectations that we developed through just three weeks of college football. Predicting 11 wins this season was a bit of a pipe dream, so perhaps being moderate and less cocky would do the fan-base some good.
We lost to a good team, and our guys had their fair share of chances. That’s how losses should be, even if we prefer losses not to occur at all.
We’ll live with that, and hope that this team gets better.