BRUINS IN RUINS
Stanford coach Dennis Green called his team's 17-14 upset of UCLA in Palo Alto a "benchmark" for his program. But Bruin coach Terry Donahue was closer to the mark. After the game he proclaimed that UCLA had "fallen to rock bottom."
How to measure the fall? Let us count the ways. The defeat was the Bruins' sixth against only three wins and assured UCLA of its first losing season since 1979. It also was the Bruins' fourth consecutive defeat; they hadn't lost that many games in a row in one season since 1971. Finally, the loss came against a Stanford team that was 1-7.
What's puzzling about the Bruins' demise is that they aren't bereft of talent. Most of the preseason polls had UCLA ranked in the Top 10 and headed for a ninth straight bowl appearance, maybe even the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Bruins could end up 3-8.
Against Stanford, UCLA coughed up three turnovers, and Donahue twice replaced starting quarterback Bret Johnson with backup Jim Bonds, once with 7:47 remaining in the first half and again at the start of the final quarter. Donahue insisted, though, that he was neither panicking nor losing confidence in Johnson. "I just didn't want to go through the season without having some information on Jimmy Bonds," said Donahue. "We didn't want to go into next spring without knowing how he would do in game competition."
The operative phrase is "next spring." Apparently, all that remains for UCLA fans is to look forward to next year and hope that Donahue can figure out how a potentially good team fell so far so quickly.
NOT SO PRETTY IN PINK
Pink has never exactly been the color of choice among football coaches, bless their macho hearts. But when Iowa's Kinnick Stadium was refurbished in 1984, someone came up with the bright idea of doing the visitors' locker room in pink. "The stadium was built in 1929," says Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry, "and there have been a lot of paint jobs through the years trying to make the place look halfway decent. Frankly, painting it pink was just an accident."
Perhaps, but when Michigan coach Bo Schembechler got a load of the pink, he gave orders to have the walls covered with paper before the Wolverines' 1984 game. The wallpapering drew so much attention that Schembechler abandoned the practice for this season's game against the Hawkeyes at Kinnick, a 26-12 Wolverine victory. "Is this pink?" said Bo, looking at the walls. "I didn't know that."
Another curious reaction came from Illinois coach John Mackovic, who wore a pink shirt when he talked with reporters last week. He also put a pink flamingo in the Illini locker room. "Since we can't change it, it's best we meet it head-on," said Mackovic, who was tickled pi...well, mauve, after Illinois' 31-7 win at Kinnick.