If UCLA gets blown out this weekend and no one is there to see it, did it actually happen?
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It is a bad sign for UCLA football when, facing the fifth-ranked team in the nation, the only way to get fans into the stadium is to offer season ticket holders the chance to claim free tickets.
A season-opening loss at Cincinnati was followed by an ugly home defeat to San Diego State this past weekend. There is clearly an enthusiasm gap around the program, now 0-2 and facing down the barrels of one of the best teams in the nation on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
No. 5 Oklahoma visits UCLA this Saturday and there is hardly any buzz around the game. So the program, in its second season under Chip Kelly and still struggling, is offering fans who attended last week’s 23-14 home opener loss to San Diego State the chance to score four free tickets.
Fans and boosters are clearly down on this program. Even the heralded Kelly hasn’t provided a spark. The Bruins went 3-9 last season in his first year with the program. An 0-2 start this year doesn’t inspire confidence or create much enthusiasm, especially as the program faces a potential blowout loss in the third week of the season.
Attendance for last weekend’s home opener was announced as 36,951. That isn’t necessarily poor except that UCLA plays in the historic Rose Bowl, a facility with a capacity is 90,088. The place was empty.
And given the team’s less-than-inspiring start, attendance could be down even further for the Oklahoma game.
The Sooners are coming into the weekend’s trip to Los Angeles with momentum. They convincingly beat a very good Houston team and then took care of business last weekend against South Dakota State. Oklahoma has legitimate national championship ambitions and will be expected to take care of the Bruins.
Oklahoma also notoriously travels well as a program, making it entirely possible that the Rose Bowl will be dominated Sunday night on the field and in the stands by Oklahoma.
A spokesman from Oklahoma said that the program sold out their allotment of 4,000 tickets for the game. Given the way that the Sooners faithful travel, however, the number at the Rose Bowl will likely swell beyond that official total.