Poke-ing Around in California

UCLA Attendance
Though the OSU contingent of 5,000 was impressive the UCLA turnout of 43,000 was disappointing to many Bruin fans.
" Most years, if we weren't coming off 5 straight losses, this place (the Rose Bowl) would have been full," one fan said. "Attendance would be closer to 70,000. But it's SOCIAL and when the team is down, attendance is down as well."
I bought two tickets in the middle of the UCLA donor section on the 50-yard line for face value without any problem. We sat on the 11th row – lone orange shirts in a sea of blue. But hey, the seats were great.

Tans
The OSU faithful has some terrible tans; either because they spent the day in Vegas or on the beach or forgot their sunscreen. There were sunburns of every shape and color in the OSU section.

Turnovers
One UCLA fan said that if UCLA hadn't turned the ball over the Bruins would have won. I reminded him that is OSU hadn't turned the ball over against UCLA in Stillwater two years ago the Pokes would have won. The fan agreed. "I was at that game," he said. "Stillwater was a great place to visit and we did appreciate the turnovers. I guess we are returning the favor."

UCLA Students
UCLA doesn't start classes until the end of September but those who showed up looked like they were at a modeling convention – tan, fit and beautiful. You have never seen so many bikinis and halter-tops at a football game. Well, I've never seen a bikini at a football game, but it was pretty ... interesting.

Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl is absolutely gorgeous. It is the best venue for football I have ever seen. It is surrounded by hills which tower over the stadium. There is no upper-deck and even though it seats 90,000 there is not a bad seat in the house. I watch the 2nd half from the corner of the end zone and the view was not that much worse than our seats on the 50.
UCLA Hoops

As fate would have it we sat next to a UCLA assistant basketball coach and had a lot of fun talking college hoops. I suggested he bring the Bruins to GIA. "No WAY! GIA is the best home court advantage in the country. You can't get a fair game there. It's so intimidating to the refs and the team. The home crowd and atmosphere is worth 12 extra points per game for OSU."
I suggested we would be happy to come to Pauley Pavilion and he replied "It's not the same." I guess when the OSU coaches say they can't get anybody to come to GIA they aren't exagerating. This guy wanted no part of OSU.
When asked about the best part of his job, he said he gets to see John Wooden about every three weeks and talk basketball with him. WOW! That is a heck of a perk.

UCLA Campus
The Rose Bowl is nowhere near the UCLA campus but we did go see it and it is amazing. It is kinda like a a country club with a college campus on it – very posh and just down the road from Beverly Hills. It is no wonder they have no problem luring recruits from accross the country to this place.

No Poke Choke
Many of the OSU fans I talked to had been to the home opener at Louisiana Tech in 2002 and were nervous during the 4th quarter. With 6 minutes left and OSU up 31-20 the UCLA faithful – assuming it was over – started hitting the gates en masse while OSU fans, knowing anything was possible, were biting their fingernails. Two very differing opinions of where the game stood at the time.

The Wave
After having lost 5 straight games the UCLA fans were as humble and gracious before the game as any I have encountered anywhere. Great hosts! As the UCLA fans headed for the exits in the 4th quarter the OSU fans in the OSU section started waving good-bye to them en masse, adding a little insult to to injury. What was the point! Now if we had been beating Texas or OU, I'm all for a little rubbing it in! But I'm not sure what the point of waving bye-bye to these whipped fans accomplished. These guys are enduring their 6th straight defeat. OSU fans need to learn how to win graciously.

23 Passing Yards
I'm sure Robert Allen has covered every point of the game in-depth but here is my two cents. Running the ball to win the game was great but ... we have to get a passing game going. You would think that while running the ball effectively we could get some receivers open using the play-action pass. But it didn't happen. Our receivers were never open. WIth opposing linebacker focused on stopping the running game the OSU coaches better get creative and figure out at way to get the tight end open. There is no way opposing linebackers can defend the run and pass at the same time.

Perfect Day in LA
My son and I hit all the LA attractions on Friday. We started at Zuma Beach north of Malibu for a day of bogey-boarding, football and catching some waves. Then we had ditner at a local hang-out, Malibu Seafood, where you eat on picnic tables over-looking the ocean. After that we went to Malibu Bluffs Park overlooking the ocean and watched the sunset while throwing the football with some locals. Then we drove south down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and cruised Sunset Boulevard to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, then we cruised around Hollywood mostly people watching, then we hit Santa Monica Boulevards back to the UCLA campus. My son endeared himself to his old man when he said, "that was a heck of a day dad."
A Poke win made it a heck of a great weekend!

Looking forward to hitting Stillwater early next week for some tailgating and a battle with TU.

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