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...And There Was Much Rejoicing

Er, not so much, actually, at Bruins Nation, even in the sense that it bolsters the site's gridiron cause celebre, at word this morning of a "contract extension" for UCLA coach Karl Dorrell.

The new deal ostensibly locks Dorrell in L.A. through 2011, but as BN shrewdly notes, that means, well, about as much as it did the last time UCLA "extended" a coach's contract. Or the time before that:

...keep in mind that this happens pretty much every year. IIRC UCLA extended the Ks of both [Steve] Lavin and [Bob] Toledo the year before they were fired. Dorrell has a roll-over contract, just like those incompetent coaches. If Dorrell doesn't win the Pac-10 with the returning talent on UCLA's roster this upcoming season (in DG's code words which is "the next step"), none of this will matter. I don't see DG having any problem firing a coach who can't bring home a conference championship after being in charge for five years. And if Dorrell wins the Pac-10, he is most likely gone to the NFL.

From the outside, the notion of Dorrell being judged by no less a standard than beating Southern Cal for the Pac Ten title next year seems absurdly high at the moment where termination is concerned. No coach would be in a favorable position to close that gap at UCLA by next fall, and Dorrell probably only needs to show another firm move in the general direction of the Trojans. Beating them helps; barely cracking .500 overall does not. SMQ agrees another 7-6/8-5 sort of season would be tedious and probably grounds to declare "quagmire" after four such efforts (or worse) in five years. But the Bruins were 10-2 in 2005 without really coming close to winning the conference, and double-digit wins in '07 ought to be enough to keep Dorrell around another year, title or no (though that too is likely conditional on not getting beat by SC by seven touchdowns, as UCLA did in '05, or losing to Arizona by six scores at home).

But 2011? Hardly - it's standard, showy tack with nothing behind it but a desire to avoid questions about the impending guillotine for another mediocre campaign. Dorrell was out of his current job without the upset of USC in December, and it's directly on the line again in the fall.

Whoa, Karl: Mike Shula was happy about his "extension," too.
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