Jim Mora’s job status should not be in doubt this week as UCLA gets ready to face USC in the best crosstown rivalry in college football Nov. 18 at the Coliseum. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on KABC Channel 7.
The 5-5 Bruins are one win away from being bowl eligible. If they lose to USC, they have one more chance to clinch a bowl berth Nov. 25 against Cal.
Prior to last week’s game against Arizona State, a small plane flew over the Rose Bowl urging UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero to fire Mora.
Mora won his first three years at UCLA before injury woes hurt the Bruins the next two seasons. His critics say he won with players recruited by Rick Neuheisel, who preceeded him as coach.
The problem is UCLA is never going to improve the stature of its football team if Guerrero keeps firing coaches after four or five years at the school.
Guerrero did it with Karl Dorrell and Neuheisel. If Guerrero intends to fire Mora after this season, Guerrero’s superiors need to consider replacing him as athletic director, since he can’t seem to hire a good football coach. And both Neuheisel and Mora have proven themselves to be good football coaches.
The Trojans should win. They’re a better team.
Josh Rosen may be Sam Darnold’s equal at quarterback, but USC is deeper and healthier than the Bruins and that should make the difference.
But the beauty of the annual rivalry game, which is being held a week earlier this year than normal, is that anything can happen. That means the Bruins have a chance to save Mora’s job.
STUDENTS HONORED: The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, a South Los Angeles activist organization, is launching a program in which local student athletes are recognized for their success on the field and in the classroom.
Seven Dorsey High football players were honored Nov. 7 by the organization, with help from the Los Angeles Rams.
Players honored were Isaiah Williams, Jordan Mayberry, Jordan Woods, Isaiah Smalls, Khaleeb Webb, Reginald Axel and Brice Brown.
“The football-scholar awards are intended to serve as both a reward for academic excellence and a motivator for other student-football players to boost their academic performance,” said Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson. “The special emphasis is on football because this has been the major area of sport where academic performance and graduation rates among football players at inner-city schools have been abysmally low. The graduation rate of black college football players has persistently been much lower than that of white football players.”
Hutchinson plans to have a second award ceremony in February and also will honor basketball players.