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UCLA Bruins look to avoid history

November 28, 2008 | 10:57 am

When last seen on national TV, UCLA's football team had climbed Ol' Rocky Top, with a 27-24 overtime victory over Tennessee that had first-year Coach Rick Neuheisel basking in the glow.

As it turned out, Tennessee was vastly overrated and it has been a downhill slide for 4-6 UCLA ever since. The Bruins have won only three other games, one against winless Washington and another against Washington State, which has beaten Washington and Portland State.

So when the Bruins face a 4-6 Arizona State team tonight, the nation -- or those who bother to tune in -- will see a team trying to avoid a dubious honor. Only twice in school history has UCLA had an eight-loss season.

In 1940, UCLA went 1-9, managing to beat only Washington State.

In 1963, the Bruins went 2-8, with victories over Stanford and Washington.

If the Bruins lose tonight and fall to USC on Dec. 6, they join that eight-loss list. It would probably make Neuheisel wish that he was back on Ol' Rocky Top. Still, he can take heart. Neither Coach Edwin C. Horrell of the 1940 team nor Bill Barnes in 1963 was fired.

-- Chris Foster