Over the past few years anyone who has been paying attention has noticed a huge increase in the level of hatred towards USC. As one of the premier college football programs out there SC gets its fair share of recognition. Some of it good some not, some of it fair some not. ESPN's over reaching theme in 2005 of USC being one of the greatest teams ever seemed to amplify the message of those who disdain us. That's fine we were the team to beat and we were the team everyone talked about but we weren't the greatest of all time.
We have seen it time and again as teams get successful they incur even more disdain and hatred from either their rivals or those who feel that they don't get their fair share of the spotlight. Some of it is legit, some of it is plain jealousy but regardless it can get ugly for no legitimate reason at all.
There is an interesting article on Rivals asking a similar yet simple question...is ucla nearing Duke's national level of hate in college basketball?
It depends on whom you ask. Here are a few snippets in the piece:
The Bruins play a team-oriented, unselfish brand of basketball that relies on strong defense. They make good grades, avoid trouble off the court and exhibit good sportsmanship on it.
Yet this weekend, there were plenty of casual basketball fans at the US Airways Center that seemed to relish booing the Bruins.
"A lot of people are starting to not like us," Love said. "They're calling us the Duke of the West Coast. We feel like the Spartans out there in '300.'
"We don't care who's on our side. It could be us against the world. We're just going out there trying to win."
UCLA hasn't always been this unpopular.
[...]Throw in the fact that UCLA (35-3) has won five of its last 10 games by three points or less, and the Bruins' reputation as one of the country's most dominant teams has taken a hit.
Even coach Ben Howland has denied conspiracy theory chatter about the Bruins.
Still, the situation has caused some otherwise impartial fans to make the Bruins the team they love to hate. Guard Russell Westbrook said he continues to hear media members criticize the Bruins, too.
[...]These days the Bruins need all the support they can get.
"A lot of people don't like North Carolina," Love said. "A lot of people don't like Kansas because they don't like No. 1 seeds very much. Maybe that's it.
"Maybe it's a Yankees thing. They have the most championships (in Major League Baseball) and we have the most NCAA basketball championships. I don't know what the deal is."
I admit I can't stand them but hey they are my rivals and I'm not into this Pac-10 solidarity thing.
To some rivals should automatically be disqualified from this discussion for the obvious reasons, regardless the question remains are they being hated more? There is no question that, regardless of the reason, ucla basketball is the hot topic today but you can rest assured a lot the negative discussion comes from old wounds that never really healed from their marvelous run in the 60's and 70's. The rules and atmosphere were different then. The tournament was 32 teams, players stayed all four years and players seldom transferred. So it was easy to see how their dominance could be annoying to some.
Some don't like Kevin Love and think he is arrogant as some have pointed out to me in regards to some of his comments in an article on SI.com. The comments didn't bother me but I could see where some could be bothered. But its not like Love hasn't talked some smack in the past. Some can't stand his dad Stan, as it appears that he may not be as genuine as he tired to emulate. That just adds fuel to the fire.
From the SI Article:
Get used to it kid not everyone is going to like or care about you. And it will get worse at the next level.
If you stand up high enough people are going to throw rocks at you.
I find it interesting how the more vocal part of the ucla fanbase would accuse the NCAA of looking the other way in regards to the Bush mess or the minor transgressions of something like the Jarrett/Leinart rent issue or Leinart's ESPN misstep when some back in the day said the same thing about Sam Gilbert and his alleged dealings with some players during ucla's run. In talking to one bruin fan I know it was conceded that some transgressions may have taken place but that the bigger question was back then what was illegal and what wasn't. Fair point, we see some of that today in regards to baseball and PED's, it wasn't illegal or against the rules back then so what's the big deal? But you won't find too many realistic people who follow the sport that will continue to deny that something probably took place.
But those sorts of issues are only part of the current backlash the other part is more how a fan base is perceived. In today's new media opinion and counter-opinion hit the airwaves faster than a speeding bullet in an attempt to have the last word. How will a fan base react to negative articles written about it? What makes a fan base feel as if they don't get any respect?
Most SC fans I know could care less what the outside world thinks. Yes, there are some who will rabidly defend this programs reputation, there are some that may make a small statement and move on and there are some who will just shrug their shoulders and not give it another thought.
As for the more vocal part of the ucla fan base, my bruin friend said recently:
"Our cause isn't helped when every time I read a front page article over at BN the rabid chipmunks are getting their panties in a wad over the latest MSM silliness...
The latest whining over Dohn, Plaschke, Kuwada etc. has everyone going all jihadi on these guys because they don't bow before UCLA. Like you, I find a lot of the regular print media articles to be superficial and uninformative (Diane Pucin covering UCLA basketball is truly worthless) but there's hardly an axe to grind here. Usually space limitations prevent the kind of in-depth analysis you can find at any blog that aims to cover a particular team. But it isn't a conspiracy, there's no gunman on a grassy knoll.
Honestly, some of these buffoons should really be wearing tinfoil hats to keep out the secret radio waves beamed out by the CIA, they're so into these stupid whine fests over the lack of respect given to UCLA. And there is absolutely no sense of humor-it's all done with a humorlessness that reminds me of the wacky left in politics. Sometimes they're funny in some mean way, but they're never humorous."
He said it I didn't but I could not have said it better myself.
You know you've hit the big time and drawn attention to yourself when Deadspin discusses the topic. Some of the comments in that thread proves my friends point, there is no need to elaborate further.
ucla fans are going through what USC fans have been going through the past 5 years. From the looks of it, it appears that they can't take it.
Oh well, Buckle up kids because it only gets worse from here...especially if you win.
Good luck with that!