... the University of California, Los Angeles.
School: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Colors: UCLA Blue and Gold
Mascot: Joe & Josephine Bruin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Varsity Sports: 22
Football Stadium: Rose Bowl (cap. 91,136)
Basketball Arena: Pauley Pavilion (cap. 12,829)
On to the vitals:
TV Revenue Potential. Along with USC, UCLA plays in the second largest TV market in the nation. You could even make the argument that Los Angeles is the largest TV market in the country when it comes to college sports, because do you really think Rutgers delivers the NYC market? The answer is no. Besides, we aren't taking Rutgers with a pick anytime soon.
Academics. UCLA ranked 25 nationally in this year's US News & World report rankings, making it the second highest ranked public school in the country behind only Cal-Berkeley. So these guys are pretty darn smart.
Co-eds. No complains from me here. None at all.
Weather/Desirability of Destination. Southern California, Austin, Texas and Athens, Georgia? Yeah, we're doing pretty OK in this category.
Historic Success. UCLA claims just one football National Championship and one Heisman Trophy winner, but the real historic success that UCLA brings to our conference is in basketball. The Bruins have 11 NCAA men's basketball National Championships, along with 13 title game appearances and 18 Final Fours. In all, UCLA has won 71 men's National Championships and 36 women's titles, including 19 in men's volleyball and 11 in softball.
Finally, to get readers a bit more familiar with the pick, we asked Nestor over at Bruins Nation six questions on the UCLA Bruins:
Commissioner: Tell us more about your football and basketball program, in 300 words or less (grad school essay style).
Bruins Nation: As for UCLA's basketball program, there is not much to say. This is Coach John Wooden's program. Our overall record and championships speak for itself. We did experience a downturn due to the God awful one and done rule in last 2-3 years, but it looks like Ben Howland, who is one of the best coaches in the game have figured out how to navigate the new terrain. Bruins are working on putting together a great recruiting class and we expect them to be back in national scene soon enough. Oh and the legendary Pauley Pavilion is getting renovated. Although it generated a lot of drama, which required activism from BN to save student sideline seating, the refurbished arena.
As for football, no doubt UCLA has gone through a very tough decade but the fact is despite about a decade of mediocrity UCLA is considered to be one of the best football programs in the country. There is a lot of pressure on Rick Neuheisel to right the ship in Westwood. Sooner or later the Bruins day will return in Los Angeles.
Commish: What is your school's best non-revenue sport? What is that program's defining moment / crowning achievement?
BN: This is an impossible question to answer given our double digit championships in softball and men's volleyball. We also have multiple championships of number of other sports. Both of our soccer programs are powerful. We are a traditional power in water polo, golf, gymnastics and on and on. It is not practicable to identify the best non-revenue sport when you have 107 championships to sort through. This video speaks for itself:
Commish: What excites you most about joining this conference?
BN: The idea of annual road trips to places like Austin and Athens should get every college football fan jacked up.
Commish: If you are in Westwood for a football game, what's the #1 local spot -- bar, restaurant, attraction -- you have to visit before you leave?
BN: Citing DCBruins' Q&A at Rumble in the Garden:
"The best spot in Westwood is Barney's Beanery ... which is also a sports bar. It's on Broxton.
Diddy Riese is good for ice cream sandwiches on fresh cookies.
Sepi's Sub's is an ancient Bruin tradition on Le Conte.
There is both an In and Out and a Fatburger -- two Cali traditions in the Village."
I would also add that tailgating at the golf course is a must. If you are into hanging out around the beaches head over to Malibu (10-15 mins drive from UCLA) and take a drive up the PCH. Plenty of spots to stop, get some grub and taking in the ocean.
Commish: Which conference road trip are you most looking forward to and why?
BN: Tough to pick. Both of those are such amazing college football towns. We have been to Austin and Texas fans were incredibly awesome - classy and gracious all the way. It would be great to experience UCLA taking on Georgia in between the hedges. We have been talking about it for a while. Let's get this done.
Commish: Last one. If you could pick one rap song that captures what this conference is all about, what is it?
Am I right?
Head on over to Bruins Nation and welcome the Bruins to the conference.