Wednesday, July 17

Hanson’s Hot Take: Stanford game demonstrates The Den lacks sports etiquette

UCLA's The Den grew louder and louder as the Bruins inched closer to an upset of No.7 Stanford. But the raucous crowd distracted quarterback Josh Rosen and prevented him from communicating with his offensive line. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)

UCLA's The Den grew louder and louder as the Bruins inched closer to an upset of No.7 Stanford. But the raucous crowd distracted quarterback Josh Rosen and prevented him from communicating with his offensive line. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)

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.

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.

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Senior staff

Wang is a Daily Bruin senior staffer on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's tennis, women's tennis and women's soccer beats. Wang was previously a reporter for the men's tennis beat.

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  • Loner Stoner

    They should have a “hush” graphic like they do “get loud” graphics on 3rd down.

    • SGV_Bruin

      You are referring to “The Dirt,” and yes, The Den Operations Club still publishes those and hands them out to students at every home game. I’m sure they’re open to any suggestions for The Dirt or the student section in general. Go Bruins!

  • Loner Stoner

    We need better free throw distraction techniques

  • Jim

    So the UCLA football team pinch and we want some more, we want some more between the third and fourth quarter but the student section can’t say we are going to win? You must’ve lost your mind

  • j metaphor

    Hanson Wang?
    OK, Hanson Wang, having been going to UCLA football games since 1960something I would like to provide a bit of biased historical perspective.
    UCLA will never be an intimidating place to our opponents. Too many other things to do and most undergrads and alumni to bright to really get too crazy about the outcome of a football game. That being said, I did notice something definitive about the Stanford Game: We needed Geoff Strand. UCLA Administration denuded the student body in the late 60′s when UCLA students were able to elect the yell leaders and Engineer Jeff ruled the sidelines. His cheers (“pass the beer, pass the joints, come on Dummit pass for points” and the innovative supersonic cheer) kept the student body involved and loud. UCLA ADMIN killed the election of yell leaders to muffle the controversy and, in doing so, killed the buzz.
    Geoff Strand brought pain to any opponent on his end of the field and now he is gone. Why, not sure but his absence is the UCLA football teams loss.
    My position is that with Strand there last week, we win that game.