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Going once, going twice, no sale

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In August last year, the Wall Street Journal completed a Dow Jones ranking of major college football programs, based on how their alumni did in the NFL in 2005. USC came in at #14, largely on the strength of guys who have graduated since Pete Carroll was coach. For trend purposes, I took a look at the NFL site at the time and there's a big gap roughly aligned to players from the Hackett and Robinson II years, which is not surprising at all.

What's interesting is that the gutty little Bruins came in at #18 for that season, because they had a lot of players - 29 - in the league, even though only 4 were generally featured players. The WSJ concluded that they were value picks - they were picked in later rounds, and therefore they out-performed where they were drafted. A quick look for Bruins alums in the NFL confirmed that there was a consistent presence in the league, so they've been providing value players (and the occasional star) for some time.

Well, if that's the case, the market spoke with a vengeance this weekend. UCLA had 5 players in the draft, as did USC, and precisely one - ONE! - got drafted, the kicker at that. SC even managed to shift smiling Oscar Lua, which is nice because he seems like someone who at least deserves a chance at a semi-decent professional contract.

I wrote before the UCLA game last season that the gutty little Bruins should be watched out for, because they were better than they looked, statistically anyway, and after running away (ahem) to a 13 - 9 victory they proved that point. But overall, plainly the NFL isn't buying what Dorrell is selling. Aside from the talented Maurice Jones - Drew, can you think of a highly ranked Bruin from the last several years? Me neither.

That program across town has access to a rich pool of talent in southern California alone, and while they may not be stacking up on 5 star recruits they are finding good players and at some positions coaching them up. But until they get a better overall coaching setup over there, they are going to have more 7 - 6 seasons than 10 - 2 seasons. The Bruins may well own LA this year, but it's hard to believe that Karl-ball:football::ben-ball:basketball, or will any time soon. And that's okay, because I for one am done with competitive close losses to UCLA and would like to get back to proper shellackings...

In the meantime, if you're looking for a reliable utility player, only slightly badly coached, you should be able find them near the comfy shoes.