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Neuheisel’s job security could be down to days

Rick Neuheisel AP

Whatever it was that Rick Neuheisel‘s UCLA team showed in a 48-12 thumping by Arizona, it wasn’t a competitive football team.

The Wildcats, who had just one win this season (against 1-AA opponent Northern Arizona) and fired their coach Mike Stoops not two weeks ago, absolutely torched UCLA in every imaginable way tonight. Perhaps it was a much needed change of pace with Stoops gone, but Arizona came out and played a complete football game. Granted, UCLA is not very good and Arizona is not really that bad, but the Wildcats played with an inspired edge.

UCLA was flat from the get-go. They have been for the whole first half of the season. Amazingly, though, the Bruins were 2-1 in Pac-12 play heading into tonight and still controlled their South division destiny. Really, despite the hot seat rumors for Neuheisel, UCLA had a lot to play for.

They could play for a winning record; a bowl game; a Pac-12 South title; a Pac-12 championship even.

Or, hey, how about playing for their coach’s job?

But, they didn’t. About the only inspired football UCLA showed all night was in the last seven minutes of the game. And you know what? You can’t blame ‘em. UCLA’s own athletic director, Dan Guerrero, didn’t even express confidence in Neuheisel in his most recent blog. How could he expect confidence from Neuheisel’s players?

“Returning to a bowl is just one of several steps we need to take to get this program to the level we all desire,” Guerrero wrote. “In order to compete on the national stage, we first must achieve success in the Pac-12 Conference.”

It’s not that Guerrero isn’t spittin’ truth — he is, and there’s no reason why UCLA can’t be better than they are — but there are short-term collateral damages that resulted from it. Among the numerous penalties, dropped passes, turnovers, terrible assignment defense and first-half brawl, one thing was clear: UCLA gave up tonight. Arizona got out ahead early and kept their foot down on UCLA’s throat, and the Bruins didn’t do a thing about it.

When Neuheisel opted to kick the field goal instead of going for the touchdown on fourth and goal with under five minutes left to play, he showed his players he had given up too.

Perhaps Neuheisel will be fired sooner rather than later. It might happen this week. Barring a miraculous turnaround, it’s hard to think of many ways the former quarterback can keep his job. A sub-.500 record, no Pac-12 titles and one bowl appearance won’t cut it in Westwood — not with the available local talent and the NCAA-wrapped gift handed to the Bruins in the form of sanctions to cross-town rival USC.

Neuheisel knows that, and as he stood at the center of Arizona Stadium waiting to shake the hand of Wildcats interim coach Tim Kish, the the body language said it all. He looked hurt, defeated. How his team responds next week against Cal will give us a more definitive indication if this team has really lost all hope.

If Neuheisel makes it that long. Judging by the look on his face tonight, a swift end might actually be a welcome relief.

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10 Responses to “Neuheisel’s job security could be down to days”
  1. westwoodwarrior8 says: Oct 21, 2011 1:34 AM

    enough is enough i seriously cant take anymore of watching his always flustered, clueless face on the sidelines.

  2. pdcooper08 says: Oct 21, 2011 1:53 AM

    I’ll tell you what, I sat down tonight excited to see some Pac-12 football, and I left mid-4th quarter sick to my stomach. UCLA was pitiful at best. There Offense is so weak, I don’t even no where to start. What ever you want to call the shot gun and fake to the back before they roll out and throw a two yard flat route just sucks. They do nothing down field, don’t use there TE and Prince has regressed. The “D” just gets left hanging out on the field all game to die. They are in need of a change for sure.

  3. qcubed3 says: Oct 21, 2011 2:58 AM

    Why would the Pac-12 want to add teams like OU or Okie St. when they have world beaters like UCLA, or UofA, a powerhouse that had not beaten a Division I foe in ten games. Oh, that’s right, you picked up Utah and Colorado. That should help.

  4. hillzmickelzon says: Oct 21, 2011 7:32 AM

    I just don’t get it,when Rick was hired I just knew he was gonna get under Pete Carroll skin pull a few upsets maybe a BCS berth riding high beating my Trojans in a end of the season heartbreaker.. And its not all Rick Kevin prince is should be at Golden west j.c playing 2nd string qb he just takes off to his right even with no pressure I can’t believe he can watch his on film..Now I just know two people right now who I think should get a serious look Mike belloiti I know my spelling is off bear with me, Mike is Soooo ready to go head up with the guy that he hired chip Kelly Mike will run the same offense with a few of Jeff tedford old plays mixed in,he could help keep a lot of homegrown LA talent from going up the 5 freeway to the ducks. And of course Rich rod would tear up the pac 12, and someone better email Mike leach.

  5. florida727 says: Oct 21, 2011 7:35 AM

    The only thing I can think of is that Neuheisel has pictures of his AD in a ‘compromising’ situation. What else could possibly explain why this guy still has a job? UCLA used to be a year-in, year-out top-tier college football team. Now, they’re a bye week on everyone’s schedule.

  6. cosanostra71 says: Oct 21, 2011 9:49 AM

    Actually, Ben, UCLA can’t really do much better than this. They are a second rate program, and Neuheisel deserves better honestly. Hate the team, I’ve always respected Ricky, all the way back to his CU days

  7. thekatman says: Oct 21, 2011 11:28 AM

    This is the 3rd college football program Neuheisal has ruined.

  8. mogogo1 says: Oct 21, 2011 11:32 AM

    @cosanostra71
    “Respected Ricky” for what? The scandals and NCAA violations? His only success at CU came in his first two years with Bill McCartney’s players; they steadily regressed during his tenure. At Washington he had the one great year where they won the Rose Bowl but the rest of the time the program was under a cloud due to player misconduct and Ricky lying to the NCAA. At UCLA he’s never finished better than 8th in the conference.

  9. sports_dude says: Oct 21, 2011 5:10 PM

    2nd rate program

  10. oregontrash says: Oct 21, 2011 6:33 PM

    Neuheisel will be fired at the end of the year. Trust me on this.

    It’s difficult being a Bruin football fan. We just don’t have the same level of support as the teams from the SEC receive. I’ve been to Auburn, Teen, Ark, and Florida…. Fans in the south truly love their teams. Out here in Cali there are only a handful of people who support their teams in the same way. It makes all the difference in the world.

    Pat yourselves on the back, SEC fans. Your get the players because of your support. Your support generates tremendous revenue which gets you the facilities, along with tremendous game atmosphere.

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