For some strange reason, the college football world seems to be under the impression that the departure of Pete Carroll and the arrival of Lane Kiffin at USC thus assures that UCLA will suddenly become the king of Los Angeles under Rick Neuheisel. During last week's basketball game between the two schools, Neuheisel told a crowd full of Bruin fans that:
"We respect what USC has done the last few years. But there's change now. Until the new regime proves itself, we believe we have every right to claim this city."
Now, just a few days later, ESPN's Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller felt the need to guarantee future success for his former Seattle buddy in a list of Pac-10 predictions for the upcoming decade:
7. UCLA returns to the nation's elite: Did you read all the jocular commentary about Rick Neuheisel mildly trash-talking USC while celebrating UCLA's victory in the EagleBank Bowl? There was just a sniff of desperation to the amusement, eh? Because, deep down, everyone knows Neuheisel is going to win at UCLA.
Really? Is it an absolute lock that Slick Rick rights the ship and turns UCLA into a national powerhouse? How is that destined to occur? I just don't see any evidence that really supports such an outrageous claim.
It would make a lot more sense if Miller was to say the same thing about a guy like Brian Kelly or Chris Petersen - two coaches who have proven track records of remarkable success. Both caches have orchestrated their teams to undefeated regular seasons and top 5 finishes.
Neuheisel, on the other hand, has yet to do either. While the coach at Colorado from 1995-1998, he led the Buffaloes to a 10-2 mark in his two seasons at the helm. But in the following two years, he finished with a combined 13-10 record before leaving the school due to NCAA rule violations.
Moving onto Washington, he went 11-1 and took the Huskies to a Rose Bowl in his second season, but he went just 8-4 and 7-6 in his final two years in Seattle. Then, once again, he forced to leave due to NCAA infractions.
Now, simply based on his past two jobs, what exactly indicates that Neiheisel will turn UCLA in a national powerhouse? On both occasions, his teams declined during his tenures before he left due to NCAA violations.
Keeping that in mind, it may seem a little premature for writers like Miller to boldly proclaim that Slick Rick is destined to bring championship football banners to Westwood. There is no question that he could eventually turn the Bruins into the top team in the conference, but nothing at this point in time, suggests that such an event is bound to occur. He's had some success before, but let's remember that he has also had his fair share of disappointments and failures as well.
Therefore, at this point in time, it'd be much wiser for people like Miller to take the wait and see approach for if anything the future of college football in Los Angeles is a big question mark right.