WESTWOOD—There are a lot of nice sayings that get thrown around when people talk about the competition between athletes or teams in the sports realm. People will say, “Winning isn’t everything” or “It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game,” to try and make you feel better after a heartbreaking loss, but we all know that as nice as those words sound, they don’t really mean anything.
Those comforting words are not enough to make a player feel better after getting blown out 60-0 in a football game or put a smile on the face of a boxer who just got knocked out. Whoever said “Winning isn’t everything” is right. It isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Coaches don’t get to keep their jobs because they are good people and provide their athletes with a comfortable environment. Granted that’s part of it, but the reason coaches get fired or hired is mostly based on winning.
Winning allows Joe Paterno to stay at Penn State all these years and rack up over 400 wins as the head football coach, winning is what made the Lakers hire Phil Jackson and winning is what makes Nick Saban’s salary higher than any academic faculty member at the University of Alabama.
Like it or not, winning is what matters most, and that statement doesn’t get more real than the rivalry between UCLA and USC.
A win in this game turns ordinary players into legends and gives one school bragging rights for a whole year and the opportunity be on top of the football world in Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter what type of season either team is having, this game is always a big deal. This year both teams are not having the type of season they envisioned. USC hoped to go undefeated to prove that despite NCAA sanctions they are still the team to beat, but right now they sit at 7-5. UCLA was hoping to build off the momentum of last season’s bowl victory, but injuries coupled with inconsistent play has caused the Bruins to have a disappointing record of 4-7.
There is no question about the feelings of the Bruin fan base in LA and around the world. They want the team to win just as much as the players do and unfortunately that hasn’t been happening lately. Fortunately, this Saturday all the frustration and suffering of this season can disappear if the team can pull out a win against USC at home in the Rose Bowl.
It may seem like an impossible task, but the Bruins have more than enough capability to win this game. The Texas game may seem like ages ago, but it will take that type of effort to get the job done. If the offense, defense, and special teams can all get on the same page like they did against the Longhorns, USC will have their hands full.
The seniors will be playing in their last game so it wouldn’t be to much of a stretch to say Bruin fans can expect the best game of those players' careers on the night of December 4, but if the whole team can feed off that emotion the Rose Bowl will be rocking all night long and the UCLA football season will end with a sweeter taste left in the mouths of everyone that is a part of the Bruin Nation.