Ed. note: I’m taking a retrospective look at what eventually doomed the Rick Neuheisel era. He obviously did not lack a passion for the job, but questionable decisions and cruel twists of fate – and knees – led to his dismissal from his alma mater. I take a look back at a dozen of the pivotal moments that eventually sealed Neuheisel’s fate.
12. The Final Straw
Despite a 3-1 record after the Arizona disaster, if the writing was not already on the wall by Thanksgiving, the pens were being pulled out. Neuheisel had one last-ditch effort to save his job – though some maintain that his fate had already been sealed – with a potential game-changing win over USC. Neuheisel knew it, the players knew it, everybody knew it. Lay it all on the line, one more time. And the Bruins did lay something that night: An egg. As in, 50-0, the worst defeat to the hated Trojans since a 52-0 loss in 1930. After the game, athletic director Dan Guerrero said he would wait until after the season to assess Neuheisel’s future. Rick Neuheisel was fired as UCLA head coach two days later.