Sunday, September 3, 2017

Watermelon BBQ Meatballs

THE GAME: UCLA vs Texas A&M

I have no idea what to expect of UCLA football this season. I mean, Jim Mora is still the coach, so it's a fair guess that they will lose a few games to inferior teams, not beat any superior teams, commit a lot of penalties, play mediocre defense, and, if everything goes right, play some bowl game in the Southwestern United States on a random night in December.

NOTES ON THE FOOD

  • I've lived all but four years of my life within 60 miles of the Rose Bowl - the vast majority of it within 10 miles - and I don't ever remember humidity like we've had over the last 48 hours. (My friends reading this in Oregon, Texas and New York might not have heard, but we are in a massive heat wave all over the state. San Francisco set a record on Friday at 106º.) 
  • I've had this bottle of watermelon BBQ sauce since last summer but haven't opened it until today. The cool, sweet taste of watermelon sounded like a good complement to my beloved meatballs. 
  • I baked the meatballs in the oven for 45 minutes then blotted them on a paper towel to remove the grease. Normally, I enjoy the fat that melts away from beef and pork, but in this case I didn't want it to distract from the flavor of the sauce. 
  • I tossed the balls in a bowl with the sauce, plated them, and added cold crumbles of queso fresco.
  • They were phenomenal. I split them with two other people and we all agreed that I should have bought a second package of meatballs. Next time. 

NOTES ON THE GAME: 
  • I met a lot of A&M fans in Old Town Pasadena last night. They were a very nice group of people. 
  • For the record, I'd say the Alabama fans were the nicest I've ever met, with Nebraska fans coming in second. Oregon and Fresno State are easily the worst.
  • Apparently Jim Mora claims he "doesn't feel a lot of pressure in Westwood." Yeah, I wouldn't think so. UCLA tolerates and excuses mediocrity in their football program in ways they never would in basketball. Four years ago, Ben Howland was fired as the head basketball coach after winning the PAC-12. Meanwhile, in football, Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel were allowed to lead the program for a combined nine seasons. In five seasons, Mora hasn't beaten a single top 10 team and yet here he is back for year six. 
  • Lots of people - not just UCLA fans but in the media - have said that they love UCLA's new Under Armor uniforms. I wonder if they mean they like the actual color, or if they just like the fact that it's a return to the uniforms of the 80s. I'm not a fan.
  • On UCLA's first drive, they had a first down on A&M's 12-yard line and settled for a field goal. Classic Jim Mora team. 
  • On A&M's first drive, UCLA committed a personal foul out of bounds. Classic Jim Mora team. 
  • UCLA fumbles on consecutive offensive plays and A&M is now up 17-3. 
  • 24-3. If this were the last game of an injury-filled season, UCLA's lethargy and apathy would make sense. But for the first game? This performance is just... weird.
  • I wrote last season - Jesus, I've been doing this blog for more than a year now - that until Rosen stops throwing off his back foot when he's rushed, he will never be the great quarterback that everyone has already anointed him. It seems no one else has told him that yet. 
  • 31-3. Jim Mora is staring ahead glumly. He's probably thinking Hmm, let's see, who can I blame now? I'm on my third offensive coordinator and third defensive coordinator in six seasons. All the players have changed. And yet we still play like complete pussies.... Do you think anyone is going to figure out that I'm the only common denominator? 
  • UCLA safety Jaleel Wadood made a tackle 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage then started gesturing wildly with his hands as if he'd just made a game-saving tackle. Dude, you're down by 28 at home in the first half. Pump the brakes.
  • The Angels lost 2 of 3 to the Rangers this weekend, despite scoring 22 runs. The Dodgers have lost 8 of 9 games. The weather, as I mentioned, is miserable. The largest fire in the history of Los Angeles is burning at the moment. There are lots of weekends in my life that I would love to relive. This has not been one of them. 
  • I guess UCLA turned it over again, but I'll be honest: I've been watching West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech for the last 15 minutes. It's tied in the 3rd quarter and is much more entertaining than this UCLA game.
  • To be fair, Kangaroo Jack is more entertaining than this UCLA game. 
  • Also, the Yankees and Red Sox are playing on Sunday Night Baseball. I'm going to watch that, too. 
  • Last season, I didn't give up on UCLA football until the fourth week of the season (when they blew a lead to Stanford with twenty seconds left). This season I didn't even make it to the fourth quarter of the first game. 
  • I'm probably not going to watch any more of their games this season. I suppose Dan Guerrero could do something to show the fans and alumni that this level of play just isn't acceptable - i.e. fire Coach Mora. 
  • But that's the thing - like I wrote earlier, I feel like this level of play is acceptable to the school. 
UPDATE: After I stopped watching, UCLA scored 35 straight points to win (after A&M lost their starting quarterback). Cool, I guess. I imagine that will be all the ammunition needed for Mora to keep his job all season. His next win over a Top 10 team will be his first.

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