I find it interesting that the Cal fanbase's attitude towards UCLA is decidedly mixed. By that I don't mean that every fan has mixed feelings, but rather that in surveying Cal fans, you'll get responses ranging from grudging respect (and outright fandom from a few traitorous souls) to complete dismissal and even impassioned hatred. I don't claim that this is unique among fanbases, but it certainly is unusual. When someone asks me, "How does Cal feel about UCLA?" (and that has happened), I honestly don't know how to respond; too many contradictory answers pop into my head. So help a blogger out -- what do Cal fans think of the Southern Branch?
Yellow Fever: It's hard to hate somebody that hasn't been good for a while. Having become a Cal student and fan only during the Dorrell era, it was hard to look at UCLA as anything more than a minor curiosity. I mean, it's hard to look at the Pat Cowan/Ben Olson/Drew Olson saga as anything but a sad diversion. Other than the Maurice Jones-Drew/Pete Alamar/Joe Ayoob game, that is.
As for basketball? I'll confess to not following college basketball as much because our team hasn't been as good. I would have gotten a kick out of beating UCLA last year, but hate them? Not really. Not when you don't hold out much hope for your own guys to begin with.
HydroTech: I agree that it's hard to hate somebody that hasn't been good for a while. UCLA Football has sort of been like an annoying gnat. While they have beaten us in the Rose Bowl since Tedford has arrived, those losses don't make me hate UCLA more since I feel like the Cal Football team shoots itself in the foot with unforced errors.
TwistNHook: I do believe it has to do with the relative level of success. When I was attending Cal, UCLA was smack dab in the middle of the Lavin years. While recent Cal fans and older Cal fans might hate UCLA for beating us in b-ball all the time, I didn't see them as such a big problem. Oregon with all those Lukes always seemed like a bigger fish to fry. So many Lukes!
And in football, I think we beat them 3 out of 4 years I was there. In 2000, we had that super sweet 3 OT thriller. I was lucky enough to watch the 3rd OT from the field. I'll never forget that. In 99, I remember Deltha coming over to conduct the band after we won.
So, yes, they did steal our colors. And yes they did steal our fight song (and then try to claim we stole theirs?!?!?). But when you come to Cal and they aren't really the main sports focus, it's hard to get the same level of enmity, similar to Oregon or Stanford or USC.
CBKWit: You know, I think my feelings towards ucla also stem from their recent lack of success. Unlike you guys, however, this makes me dislike them more, not less. Allow me to explain:
Still, their bandwagon fans have a reason for their bravado.
CBKWit: Don't you have a grandmother to be evicting? Anyway, Ucla, as opposed to U$C, has been mediocre. Though Tedford has never beaten them in LA, that has been more of a product of our shortcomings (2003: Tyler Frederickson; 2005: Pete Alamar/Eric Beegun; 2007: Oy) than their success, and we have beaten them like a drum at home. Despite their mediocrity, ucla displays a level of arrogance and unearned condescension virtually unrivaled in the Pac-10. It is not just the arrogance; it's the arrogance combined with an almost willful disregard of reality
A picture says a thousands words, and this is a prime example of the arrogance detached from reality that I find so unbecoming.
This was the final play from the UCLA/Texas A&M 2nd round NCAA tournament game. The A&M player is attempting to tie the game with a shot in the lane in the final seconds. Obviously, the A&M player is being fouled by multiple bruins, either by Collison or Aboya on the elbow and by Shipp reaching across his body to grab the shooter's wrist. So what do bruin fans conclude from this picture? No, not the obvious "phew, I'm glad they didn't call either of those blatant fouls" or the more simple "well, a win's a win." Instead, they commend Josh Shipp for playing good defense! I would be relieved and happy if this happened to us (or if we even made it to the damn tournament, for that matter). But proud? Being unwilling (or unable) to acknowledge reality? Using said event, without a trace of irony, to illustrate our skill and character? Only a bruin.
I think you can make a nice comparison of this play with Ezeff's miraculous hit to end the Oregon game. Yes, this hit:
Turn on your speakers for pure bliss
This was a fantastic individual effort by Ezeff, who laid a jarring hit on Colvin (who was stretching out to cross the plane and did not protect the ball, it bears mentioning) to secure the game. But what if, instead of a superb and entirely legal hit, Ezeff had caused the fumble by dragging Colvin down by his facemask? We would be ecstatic, thrilled, and relieved, yes, but I think we would acknowledge that we got away with one. And I certainly don't think we would ignore the obvious no-call and celebrate Ezeff for his technique
HydroTech: Don't worry, I only ignore poor technique when it involves Longshore.
CBKWit: I think we here at the Golden Blogs (and Cal fans in general) strive for a modicum of reality. Of course we want our teams to dominate, but we also don't want to ignore what's actually happening: generally not dominating. Being a homer is fine, but I'd rather be one grounded in reality than one who shapes reality to fit my biased views.
On the other hand, the good folks at BruinsNation have a pretty sobering post on their 2008 football outlook (though predicting a victory over USC is a deluded bold move). Perhaps BN can lead fellow bruins away from a George W. esque disdain of reality and towards a reasonable and leveled devotion.
UCLA and USC fans, however, view any modicum of success (no matter how modicum-y) as a natural extension of their birthright. Also, they stole our fight song! And our jaerbs!