One month, fans:
• Prioritize Your Celebratory Achievements According to My Perception: There is no way to describe this editorial in the Orange County Register on UCLA's unprecedented 100th national championship - even when that total excludes the mythical football titles not recognized by the NCAA - except "vitriolic":
"We strive to win in every sport," Guerrero said. "We might not be there in every sport yet. But where we are isn't a bad place."
True. So what if the water polo team Sunday received a plain brown plaque instead of a shiny crystal trophy? Finishing No. 1 is still finishing No. 1, even if presented with an award that, based on appearance, could be from a rotary club.
The Bruins have been more successful than any other school in sports that don't make headlines or money. But that's not the worst development, particularly when mixed with 11 men's basketball championships and that whole Wooden Era thing.
Someone has to win men's volleyball (UCLA has 19 times), men's tennis (UCLA has 16 times) and softball (UCLA has 10 times). So three of the school's past five titles have come in women's water polo. That's better than not winning three championships in a row.
That latter description happens to apply to the rest of the nation, which, indeed, has failed to win three water polo championships in a row. Which makes UCLA...not better?
UCLA's women's teams have won 30 championships. That's more than the total titles won each by Tennessee, Colorado and Nebraska.
So, what do the Bruins have here, exactly? They have more NCAA top finishes than any other school. They have the right to forever say they were the first to 100. They have a water polo coach prone to exaggeration.
They have all that and something that means so much more, too. They have a one-game winning streak over USC in football.
Well, "myopic" might also apply, unless Jeff Miller actually makes it his ouerve to show consistent, principled disdain for the concept of sports on the OCR sports page.
- - -
Not that I care particularly about West Coast-dominated water polo or any women's sports of any stripe, anywhere - just like I don't care about hockey in the North and Midwest or lacrosse in the East - but they do play these games, don't they? And UCLA has played them better, longer than any other school in the country. Jeff Miller feels it appropriate to piss on this because he personally happens to not care much for water polo?
Consider that UCLA's men's tennis team won the school's first championship in 1950. It's celebrating more than a half-century of across-the-board success: over 58 years, L.A. has averaged just shy of 1.8 national championships per season, including a run of dominance in a massively prominent, popular, profitable sport that has hardly been matched by any program in any other. Certainly it's under no eminent threat from USC's half-decade of gridiron dominance, over whom a "one-game winning streak" is supposed to trump the efforts of thousands of athletes over the last five and a half decades.
No, it's the way football teams are compared. Unless you're one very bitter, tacky shirt-wearing jerk.
• Quickly: Randy Shannon's recruiting strategy: first, win Miami ... Expansion has hardly dilluted school payouts in the ACC ... Meaningless preseason conjecture promulgates yet greater hype over LSU's defensive talent ... Duke and Alabama in Atlanta? Ted Roof is cool with it ... Former UL-Lafayette coach Jerry Baldwin's discrimination suit will go to trial in October ... Nebraska is setting itself up at quarterback for the next five years ... And Mitch Mustain: still not enrolled at USC, days before the start of the summer semester.
My impression of college football players since approximately last Friday:
Look, I'm not wishing a DUI or hilarious assault charge on anybody. Not anybody specific, at least.