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Coach Neuheisel joyous after rare Pac-12 win.
UCLA is the most successful men’s basketball program in NCAA history, with a record 11 NCAA titles and 18 Final Fours, including a recent three-straight run from 2006 to 2008. They also have 42 total NCAA tournament appearances and only three losing seasons since 1947.
Unlike some of the other woeful football programs profiled here, UCLA football isn’t always awful. But its recent performances have been mediocre at best.
Even worse, the Bruins have been completely overshadowed by the spectacular success of its cross-town rival, USC.
UCLA football has seen just one Rose Bowl since 1994, only three winning conference records since 1998 and two overall winning seasons since 2002. Recent bowl berths have been in bowls that are now defunct (Silicon Valley), renamed (EagleBank) or irrelevant (Emerald and Las Vegas).
What’s worse, while USC has enjoyed a cavalcade of Heisman Trophy winners and national stars such as Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and now Matt Barkley, UCLA hasn’t had a household name player since the days of Maurice Jones-Drew.
Under current head coach Rick Neuheisel, UCLA has finished 8th twice and 9th once in what is now the Pac-12.
After a miserable start to the 2011 season, UCLA has actually managed to win two consecutive Pac-12 games, putting another lower tier bowl berth in reach and possibly saving Neuheisel’s job, which may only lead to more football mediocrity in Westwood.