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Whicker: UCLA’s football glory is getting harder to remember

By in Press Enterprise on November 17, 2017

By Mark Whicker

Tom Ramsey, in his capacity as ESPN broadcaster, ran into a Mountain West Conference coach recently.

“Yeah, I remember you from the Rose Bowl,” the coach said.

“You must have a photographic memory,” the former UCLA quarterback said.

The coach then stumped Ramsey with this question:

“Why can’t UCLA win?”

Ramsey’s 1982 Bruins won that Rose Bowl. They gather regularly, as do other Bruins who played and won for Terry Donahue, parts of teams that won seven consecutive bowl games, went to four Rose Bowls from 1982 through 1990, and also two Fiesta Bowls and a Cotton Bowl.

In golf carts and restaurants and watering holes they bat it around, sometimes hard. UCLA has not won the Pac-12 since it was the Pac-10, when Cade McNown quarterbacked in 1998. That was also the Bruins’ last previous Rose Bowl appearance.

Nineteen years and three coaches ago.

“We get together and shake our heads,” said Mike Sherrard, the wide receiver. “We haven’t won a Rose Bowl since I was there. And I’m 54.”

On Saturday, the Bruins bring a 3-4 league record and a 5-5 overall record to the Coliseum to play USC. Next week they play Cal in Pasadena. If they win either game, they will be bowl-eligible, and Coach Jim Mora will laud their accomplishments, and old Bruins will grit their teeth.

“The bar has to be higher than what they think it is,” former quarterback David Norrie said. “The expectation level has to be greater.”

“Everybody goes to bowl games now,” Sherrard said. “And they can’t use facilities as an excuse anymore.”

Absolutely not. The Wasserman Football Center spans 75,000 square feet and cost $65 million. It stands guards over the practice field and caters to every player’s need. When the former Bruins got letters, signed by Mora, beseeching them for contributions, some were offended. Shouldn’t luxury follow winning?

Mora is 46-29 […]    

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