I think you overstate the importance...

By: Waldorf

...of the players who were acquired due to payola, and the difference they made.  To the best of my knowledge, the guy who found Seastrunk was the only guy who really benefitted from the payola, and Seastrunk never even played at Oregon.  The other knucklehead who may have been paid was Lyeria, or whatever his name was -- the druggie tight end.  He hardly played at all. 

Guys like Mariotta, the midget QB who stole the laptop (forgot his name), and that fast running back (can't remember his name either) -- all 3-star players, IIRC -- were the real difference-makers during Chip's time as head coach at Nike. 

But I don't see Kelly having similar success at UCLA for a number of reasons, and some of those include:

1. The academic requirements at UCLA will prevent him from obtaining some difference-makers whom he would have had no trouble recruiting to Nike.  This is true, regardless of what others, like squats-to-piss, say about the "myth" of academic requirements at UCLA; it's been proven over and over again and verified.  What this means is that fewer dirtbags are going to be allowed into the program, and a lot of these dirtbags are really good football players.  Not all, but a lot.  Mariotta wasn't a dirtbag, but that other midget QB was.  Guys like that dude who lost his shit at Boise State -- no way he gets into UCLA.  Those are, sadly, the kind of players who can make a difference.  

2. From what I understand, Chip has flipped his tune on weed-smokers.  In Eugene, if you threw a rock you'd hit a football player who was a pothead.  Apparently that isn't going to be the case anymore, and that is also going to weed out (pun intended) some difference-makers who might have come to UCLA.  Let's face it, a lot of college football players get stoned, and some of them are very good athletes. 

3. The UCLA athletic department has made big efforts to turn around a moribund department, and that will include the basketball program -- which has reached a new low recently.  Fat Dan is going to retire, and I think the suits finally realize that the program has been shit for far too long under his lack of leadership, and that only a complete overhaul is going to fix it.  That said, some things never fully die, and the UCLA athletic department has been fucked up for too long to entirely rid itself of every negative element within its walls.  So, I don't expect UCLA to be "all in" on football like Nike was, and probably still is.  It'll improve, but you'll never see the Rose Bowl in a frenzy like you saw at Eugene. 

4. As to the last point in #3, much of that has to do with the Rose Bowl itself, which is far from campus and does not lend itself to the same type of wild crowd you'd see in Eugene, even if the Rose Bowl had 90,000 asses in the seats -- not likely to happen anytime soon for a UCLA game; even when the program was winning pretty big in the late 90s, you didn't see crowds that big.  

But I still believe UCLA football will improve greatly in the next couple of years, and just because Chip's tempo offense will no longer be used doesn't mean he won't find other innovative ways to compete.  The Bruins may have only won 3 games last season, but the improvement they showed from Game 1 to Game 12 was significant, not to mention unusual for most UCLA teams in recent memory.  

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