Note: This post about UCLA coach Jim Mora’s large buyout posted with the Bruins down 34 points late in the third quarter. Things changed rather dramatically as the Bruins came back to win, 45-44. Thus, it has been updated. Happy mocking to all those who anticipated the monumental comeback.
UPDATE: It isn’t.
Despite last year’s 4-8 campaign, there was some hope for relevancy coming into this season. Talented and mercurial quarterback Josh Rosen was a big part of that. Vegas installed UCLA as 5.5-point favorites against Texas A&M — a line that quickly looked ridiculous as the Aggies stormed to a 38-10 halftime lead.
Rosen, toiling behind a dreadful offensive line, was subjected to hits from all sides. When he was able to get throws off, they fell harmlessly to the Rose Bowl turf (9 for 23, 114 yards). Texas A&M then came up with a strip sack on the Bruins’ first possession of the second half.
The pessimists in Pasadena have broken out the “Fire Mora” chants, and understandably so. Nothing on display suggests UCLA’s season will get brighter. Victory may be keeping Rosen away from a stretcher.
UPDATE: Victory was real victory.
Mora, already on a hot seat, will wake up tomorrow on one hotter than the sun. But he’ll probably be more comfortable than one would expect considering the circumstances — thanks to the $11 million buyout he’d collect should he be dismissed at season’s end (or before).
UPDATE: He won’t.
If UCLA wants to make a change, it’d be costly. That hefty buyout should serve as a flame-retardant suit, oddly comforting for Mora as the world burns around him.
This, of course, won’t make Bruins feel any better. There’s an air of hopelessness now. Exploring greener, non-Mora pastures feels especially prudent. But it’s not a simple cut-and-run job.
UPDATE: UCLA and Mora are back, baby.