“The Peoples’ Game”

As the Rose Bowl approaches, and the contenders for the two spots have been reduced to four, the Re-Match is in our thoughts. But first, a word about “The Peoples’ Game”.

As anyone who has ever tried to attend a Rose Bowl game can agree, acquiring tickets is difficult, except if you are a current season ticket holder of one of the participating schools, or a generous alumni of one of the schools (few fit the second category without also being in the first). But what of the common man (or woman) who would like to attend?

Well, we heard an interview this morning with the guy who runs the whole show, Rose Bowl Game CEO Kevin Ash. Mr. Ash made a big point during the interview to get across the fact that through Ticketmaster, tickets are put on sale for the general public, and local residents and out of town visitors can log on to Ticketmaster at a given time, and are then able to acquire some of those cherished tickets.

But, Mr. Ash, what are my chances, you think to yourself; just how many tickets are available to those of us who want to attend and can shell out the obviously outrageous cost? Well, the magnanimous Mr. Ash told his radio audience that there are all of 1000 tickets available for the public. When last we looked, the Rose Bowl held, give or take a few thousand, about 100,000 spectators. So, the generous people who run the game have seen fit to allocated 99% of the seating to their friends, relatives, and benefactors, those of the participating conferences, and those of the participating teams, and allow a whopping 1% of seats to be doled out to the public.

Back to the teams, and those nasty re-matches.

UCLA plays Stanford in a few days for the PAC-12 title and a trip to the game. Of course, The Cardinal thoroughly beat up the Bruins just yesterday, but hopefully the Bruins learned something from the game, and despite the re-match at Stanford, can regroup and play a game more like their previous five than like yesterday’s fiasco. Looking at it more positively, UCLA did score 17 points against the tremendous Stanford defense, a defense that allowed more than 23 points only once all season and held the powerful Ducks to just 14 points a week earlier. Stanford has had a remarkable season, losing only to No. 1 Notre Dame by a lone touchdown and by four points at Washington. The Bruins, who lead the college world in penalties, more than anything need to cut down on mental and physical mistakes and they can win the game, and the PAC-12 title.

If they do win and play in “The Peoples’ Game”, they would face the winner of the Nebraska-Wisconsin game. What a choice. The Bruins showed the football world early on this season that they were a vastly improved team and could play with anyone by beating Nebraska in Week Two, but a rematch against the ‘Huskers who have won nine of ten since and steamrolled through the Big 10 losing only to Ohio State and who are a much better team today, would make for an awfully tough game to win.

But the alternative is Wisconsin. In case you have missed it, UCLA has not been to “The Peoples’ Game” since 1999, and only twice since 1986. In both of those games, 1994 and 1999, the Bruins lost to Wisconsin. Also of note is the fact that Wisconsin has also LOST the last two Rose Bowl games, to TCU and a year ago to Oregon.

So what a choice. If we win the first re-match, we get another one against Nebraska or Wisconsin. Sounds like it’s time to show the Badgers the Bruins can beat them when it really counts.

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