The worst thing Saturday night wasn’t that UCLA lost to Stanford.
It was that a horde of students started chanting “I believe that we will win!” with about four minutes left in the game.
Come on, man.
Rule number one of sports: It’s not over until it’s over.
I understand the enthusiasm, but when you’re facing the No. 7 team in the country who happens to have the best player in college football – not to mention eight years of bragging rights – you always have to be aware of the worst-case scenario and the power of the jinx.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) September 27, 2016
If you’re not, it makes the loss sting even harder.
Sadly, that was just one incident that showed the ignorance of a majority of The Den.
Case in point: The Bruins faced fourth and four in the last minute of the third quarter, and the student section was loud.
Too loud, in fact.
Josh Rosen frantically waved his arms to tell the crowd to quiet down as he tried communicating with his offensive line, but it didn’t work – he ended up getting sacked. The Den should be the most supportive section at the Rose Bowl, but being blindly loud did more harm than good.
That’s why the UCLA student body, for all its academic, intellectual and social achievements, needs to educate itself when it comes to sports, especially football and men’s basketball.
Otherwise, paying $169 for a Den Pass to go to the Rose Bowl or Pauley Pavilion is hard to justify.
The main goal of The Den is simple: to support the Bruins and make the opposing teams’ lives as hard as possible. When the Bruins have the football, the crowd should be quiet so Rosen can change the protection scheme or make an audible at the line and the offense can hear the snap count. When the other team is on offense, free Chick-fil-A shouldn’t be the only reason all hell breaks loose.
UCLA students do deserve some praise, though. I’ve rarely seen The Den as packed as it was Saturday night, and although it’s no 12th Man, it did make its presence felt at times. And those diehard fans in the front row of every football and men’s basketball home game – they’re the backbone of the student section.
[Related: UCLA no match for Texas A&M fans]
But the crowd needs to be much better than it was towards the end of the Stanford game. While we may never be a football-first school like Texas A&M or Alabama, Saturday night proved The Den has the capacity to be one of the loudest and most feared student sections in the Pac-12.
This Saturday is an opportunity for the student section to redeem itself. The Bruins will take on the Arizona Wildcats, and falling to 0-2 in conference play will all but shatter UCLA’s hopes for a possible rematch against Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. It’s another chance for The Den to make its presence known whenever Arizona has the ball – just save those “I believe that we will win!” chants for when UCLA’s in victory formation.
So there you go, Den Pass holders. Show out, or consider not showing up at all.