The Worst: UCLA non-conference road losses


Welcome to The Worst! It’s a list of the worst things to occur in college football, mainly losses. If your school is picked, trust me, it will be painful and you will probably hate me for bringing up these bad memories.

Good news, B1G fans: Your teams are not featured. But don’t rest for too long. We’ll be looking back your way real soon.

For this week, we decided to go West to Los Angeles. No, we’re not going to do USC, so you can stop worrying Kyle! Instead, we focus on that other LA team: the UCLA Bruins.

This week, the team travels to the central time zone for an 11 a.m. start time against the Memphis Tigers. I fully expect this to be a death trap and leaving Memphis will be a difficult task for the Bruins to pull off. Oh, also leaving Memphis with a win won’t be very easy.

In honor of the Bruins playing a brunch game this week, we the scientists and railroad barons of The Worst have decided to focus on recent UCLA road losses to non-conference opponents.

Believe it or not, UCLA hasn’t had many non-conference road losses this century. They’ve had eight total, all since 2003. With a little help from Sports Reference, we’ll count down the top five and I promise it will be painful.

I will say this: None of these losses on the list happened during Jim Mora’s tenure. Let’s get going though!

5. Houston Cougars- 2011

This is the only loss on this list that features Kevin Sumlin.

It would be the final season for Sumlin at Houston before he took the job in College Station. Sumlin had himself a fun Cougars team that led the nation in scoring.

The game against Houston was the season opener. And it really didn’t go well for Head Coach Rick Neuheisel.

UCLA found itself trailing 31-14 at halftime, thanks in part to the Cougars running game. The Bruins rallied back, with an Anthony Barr touchdown catch with less than two minutes in the game. However, they missed the PAT. Houston hung on to win 38-34.

It was a tough loss. UCLA outgained Houston 554-469. However, UCLA had 10 penalties in the game for 80 yards. That probably didn’t help things.

The season did not get much better for UCLA. They got blown out by Texas, blown out by Stanford, even blown out by Arizona and Utah. The Bruins finished the regular season 6-6, leading to Neuheisel’s dismissal.

Despite this, because USC wasn’t eligible for the postseason, the Bruins still made it to the Pac-12 title game with a 5-4 conference record.

UCLA would lose that game and lose the Fight Hunger Bowl to Illinois. This ultimately led to you having Jim Mora as your coach. So congratulations, I guess…

4. Colorado Buffaloes- 2003

I admit this might be construed as cheating. However, in 2003, Colorado didn’t play in the Pac-12, it was the Big 12. There wasn’t even a Pac-12 in existence. Imagine that!

This game in September of 2003 was flat-out ugly. It had no alibi! These two teams combined for 448 yards (243- UCLA and 245- Colorado). They also combined for 21 penalties. There were more penalty yards in this game than rushing yards.

UCLA took the lead late in the third quarter on a 13-yard Drew Olson touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis. The Bruins led 14-0.

It came down to a Joel Klatt (now of Fox Sports) six-yard touchdown pass to Joe Klopfenstein with 2:21 left in the game. Colorado won the game 16-14.

This season was notable as it was the first for new head coach Karl Dorrell. He had Maurice Drew and Chris Kluwe. Where I come from, that’s all you could ever need: a running back and a punter.

UCLA finished 6-7 on the season, losing their bowl game, the Silicon Valley Bowl, to Fresno State.

Of course, this wasn’t their only bad loss to a Big 12 opponent in 2003.

3. Oklahoma Sooners- 2003

This game happened two weeks after the Colorado loss.

It’s worth pointing out that the Bruins led this game 10-7 after one quarter. So things were running sort of smoothly for UCLA.

Unfortunately, special teams was a problem for UCLA in the second quarter. Antonio Perkins returned two punts for touchdowns in the quarter. Perkins added one more for good measure late in the fourth quarter, when Oklahoma had the victory in hand.

The Sooners won that game 59-24. They probably should’ve won that game though. At the time, they were the top ranked team in the country.

Oklahoma had the eventual Heisman winner in Jason White. And even though they lost the Big 12 title game to Kansas State, they still played in the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl against LSU.

Oklahoma had a dominating team in ’03. What they did to UCLA, they did to a lot of teams that year. Hell, they beat Texas A&M 77-0 that year. That loss probably still haunts Aggie fans more than the one you gave to them last week.

Drew Olson had a less than stellar game at quarterback for UCLA. He was picked twice. One of those interceptions went 34-yards the other way for a touchdown by Eric Bassey.

2. Utah Utes- 2007

Yes, we’re counting this game as a non-conference loss. Utah was not part of the conference at that time.

The Bruins were close with Utah at the half, trailing just 14-6. Unfortunately, it got ugly from there. Utah scored 30 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter. Darrell Mach scored three touchdowns from scrimmage in that game.

The Utes knocked off then-11th ranked UCLA 44-6. They’d bounce back with wins over Oregon State and Washington.

However, they’d go 2-6 in their remaining games, including a Las Vegas Bowl loss to BYU, a team they’d defeated earlier in the season.

The program looked to put the 2007 season behind them. They removed Dorrell, brought in Neuheisel and were eager to put the BYU loss behind them.

Oh wait…

1. BYU Cougars- 2008

59-0…What happened UCLA? You’re starting over and trying to get back on track as a program and you go to Provo, Utah to get your ass kicked. Who does that!? This game shouldn’t exist, but it does.

BYU scores 35 points in the second quarter and 17 more in the third. This was clearly punishment for something. What did YOU do!?

Max Hall had seven touchdowns and eight incompletions. BYU’s offense outgained UCLA 521-239. Austin Collie had more receiving yards (110) than UCLA had rushing (9).

BYU won 10 games that year, while UCLA only won four.

This game happened nine years ago, yet it’s still one of the most amazing things.

No matter what happens on Saturday, it probably won’t be as bad as the loss to BYU. Of course, if you lose by more than 59 points, then it could be.