Thursday, December 2, 2021

Bill Walton reminded GameDay of the Champions Conference

It’s been 23 years since UCLA hosted ESPN’s College Game Day, so Bill Walton wanted to make sure no one felt left out.

Bruins basketball legend and guest picker have mentioned Gary Beban, Troy Aikman, Mark Harmon, Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Billy Kilmer … to name just the high school graduates.

The Rolling Stones, Ahmad Rashad, and the Lewis and Clark expedition also received screams during Walton’s rant. Basketball players and coaches referred to him, some of whom have died, and many have not played for a long time.

Fired Washington state coach Nick Rolovich received unexpected advice – “Get vaccinated,” Walton said, and ESPN analyst Lee Corso kissed the head.

It was a wild, wacky and rainy Saturday morning at UCLA’s Wilson Plaza, where “GameDay” first appeared on campus in the show’s 35-year history. It was also the show’s first appearance ahead of a UCLA home game since its Rose Bowl staging until the Bruins beat Oregon in 1998.

Several thousand tenacious souls, who withstood the morning chill and brief drizzle before UCLA met Oregon’s 10th Rose Bowl, kicked off the celebration with eight claps, waving hundreds of signs, and few were tasteful.

“Walton 2024: Let’s Make America Weird Again” is a sentiment that all Bruins fans could probably agree with, regardless of their political affiliation.

One sign targeted Oregon’s tendency to release a new uniform every week, including the pants and top on Saturday that looked like they were splattered with paint, with the caption “330 uniform combinations, zero nationals.” Another sign struck a blow to an Oregon law that requires maintenance personnel to fill gas tanks, which read: “At least we pump our own gas.”

In a moment that was either touching or sickening depending on your perspective, UCLA Coach Chip Kelly hugged the Duck mascot, the tandem once such a dizzying success together while Kelly coached in Oregon. Kelly, who’s notoriously disliked by the media, also held a selfie stick attached to her camera to pan the crowd for ESPN.

Any mention of USC generated a loud and sustained boo, whether it was during a segment, in an advertisement, or when panelists revealed their choices. Walton has shown that he really loves the self-proclaimed Conference of Champions by choosing Trojans to defeat Notre Dame.

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Corso had earlier provoked screams by mentioning that Oregon beat UCLA in eight of their last nine meetings.

“School of Safety!” the crowd chanted.

Kirk Herbstrate won a dollar from Corso for learning that Oregon was the last UCLA team to beat the top ten at the 2007 Rose Bowl.

Bruins sporting director Martin Jarmond thanked the fans for coming, grabbing the microphone and saying, “They said it was too early. They said you weren’t coming. Bruin Nation is up! “

The event could evoke more than just a good mood. Bruins basketball coach Mick Cronin and his assistants have invited top promising central Adem Bohn to GameDay as part of a working visit. One segment featured the UCLA basketball team, where security guard Johnny Juzang was inexplicably wearing sunglasses.

The show climaxed when Walton attempted to pick the winner of the UCLA-Oregon game by mentioning fur and feathers, bills and claws, all those Bruins alumni, and a host of others who had nothing to do with anything before Corso glanced at his watch. and host Rege Davis told Walton he needed his choice.

Walton said, “They roll. This crowd is on fire. The Rose Bowl will sway, sway, like when the Rolling Stones were there. “

Davis repeated, “I need your choice.”

“Do you want my choice?”

“I need your choice.”

Walton, wearing a UCLA soccer jersey, announced he was leaving his alma mater with his hands up. Confessing his love for the Oregon duck standing nearby, Corso said: “This is strictly business, dear, strictly business. Give me this head. “

And with that, Corso put on Bruin’s head, earning Walton’s kiss.

The crowd roared, the producer running out of time exhaled, and everyone headed for the Rose Bowl.

Nation World News Desk
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