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Word From Westwood - Aug. 28, 2012
By: UCLA Athletics

Word From Westwood

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Aug. 28, 2012

It may not feel like it, with temperatures still soaring here in Southern California, but fall is certainly in the air. Later this week, the football season begins, and that is as good a sign as any that it is indeed fall. As colleges and universities across the country gear up for the start of the season, UCLA is no exception as Jim Mora officially kicks off his UCLA coaching career this Thursday against Rice with the Bruin Family watching in great anticipation.

Jim Mora and the Football Team Open at Rice
The Jim Mora era of UCLA Football will get underway Thursday night when the Bruins travel to Houston to face Rice at Rice Stadium. Mora, who has been a coach for more than 25 years, will be making his collegiate head coaching debut. Meanwhile, Rice is coached by David Bailiff in his sixth season.

The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and kicks off at 4:30 pm PT. To find out what channel the CBS Sports Network is on your cable or satellite provider, please visit the channel finder at In addition, the game will air locally (in Southern California) on the radio on KTLK 1150 am.

Wear Your Blue This Friday
Though the UCLA football team plays Rice on Thursday evening, all UCLA fans are urged to wear their Bruin Blue on Friday, August 31 as well, in celebration of College Colors Day.

College Colors Day is an annual happening dedicated to promoting the traditions and spirit that embody the college experience, with fans across America wearing their favorite college or university apparel throughout the day. For more information, visit

In addition, this year UCLA will continue its tradition of encouraging fans to wear Bruin Blue for UCLA Fan Fridays each Friday preceding a Bruin home game at the Rose Bowl.

Men's Basketball Wraps up Chinese Adventure
Ben Howland, his coaching staff and the UCLA men's basketball team conclude their Goodwill trip to China this week. The team played three games on the tour, winning each of the games convincingly, and visiting historic landmarks along the way.

UCLA center Joshua Smith enjoyed his time at the Great Wall. "Just knowing that we visited one of the 7 Wonders of the World is unreal," he said. "It didn't really hit me until I climbed to the third tower and I realized how high up we were and how massive the wall is. I was more than satisfied going to that third tower. It's an unbelievable structure, especially given the historical significance."

The Bruins' final game of the trip, which was against the Shanghai Sharks, will be televised tomorrow on the Pac-12 Networks immediately following the 7pm PT women's volleyball match between UCLA and the Jiangsu Chinese Team. To see what channel the Pac-12 Networks are on your cable system, please click here

For complete coverage of the trip, please visit

Women's Volleyball Team Hosts Chinese Opponent
Men's basketball will not be the only team this season to square off against Chinese competitors. The #3-ranked UCLA women's volleyball team will host Chinese club team Jiangsu in an exhibition match on Wednesday night in the Wooden Center at 7pm. Admission is free.

The match will be one of six for Jiangsu, currently on a tour of the state of California. For those unable to attend in person, the match will be televised LIVE on the Pac-12 Networks. 

The Bruins then travel to Santa Barbara for a pair of weekend matches at the UCSB Invitational.

Special Event for UCLA Hoops Fans
The Wooden Athletic Fund and the UCLA Alumni Association San Fernando Valley Network are joining forces for a reception featuring men's basketball coach Ben Howland on October 10 at Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank.

The reception will begin at 6:30 pm, and Coach Howland will begin speaking at about 7:15 pm. The cost to attend is $25 if confirmed prior to the event and $40 at the door. Any questions regarding how to register should be directed to Gina Garrett at

Olympic Sports Roundup
The teams in action are as follows:

  • The #1-ranked women's soccer team, which improved to 3-0 with its victories over Fresno State on Friday and Illinois Sunday, hosts Wisconsin Friday night at Drake Stadium.
  • The #11-ranked men's soccer team, after dropping a 3-2 heartbreaker to open the season against New Mexico last week, visits ACC powers Maryland and Virginia on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Friday's game at Maryland can be viewed online on ESPN3 at 4:30pm PT.
  • The men's water polo team opens its season at home in the UCLA Invitational at Spieker Aquatics Center. Admission is free.
  • The cross country team heads to Reno to take part in the Nevada Chase on Friday to start its season.

    That which often distinguishes good teams from great teams is how they fare on the road. It is not unusual, therefore, that many NCAA post-season selection committees give more weight to road victories than home wins.

    With that in mind, I had the unique opportunity to see our defending champion women's volleyball team open its season on the road in Lincoln, Nebraska for the first match in a two-day tournament against the Irish of Notre Dame. With Rose Bowl Management meetings on the Nebraska campus coinciding with the start of the tournament, I was afforded the chance to see our Bruins in action on the road against an early season non-conference opponent.

    What was evident from the start is that UCLA will definitely be the "hunted" -- every one of our opponents will play us at their best. Such was the case against a scrappy bunch from South Bend. Though the Bruins won in four games, it is clear that the road to the NCAA Championship in Louisville will be a tough one indeed. I like what I saw in Head Coach Michael Sealy as he tried different combinations in this young season to find the right formula.

    The environment in the Coliseum on the Nebraska campus is quite extraordinary. It is an old field house, with the fans right on top of the action. I was told by a Bruin parent in attendance that it is easier to get a Nebraska football ticket at Memorial Stadium than it is to get a volleyball ticket in the Coliseum.

    The fact that we lost to the highly-ranked Huskers in an amazing five-set battle between two very good teams on Saturday night only goes to illustrate just how treacherous the road can be. That said, the level of competition in those two matches will, no doubt, prepare us for the difficult road ahead ... but one our Bruins are accustomed to traveling.

    See you at the Wooden Center when the team opens up its home regular season against Pepperdine on September 12.

    Dan Guerrero
    UCLA Athletic Director

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