There are now 45 days until UCLA kicks off the 2012 football season against Rice. There’s a lot of optimism and caution being exercised as new head coach Jim Mora seeks to rid the stench surrounding Bruin football.
The stage is set, and though there are things to be determined still — such as finding a starting quarterback — we have a good idea of how this UCLA squad will look come August 30.
So we’ll preview the season, game-by-game. First up on the schedule? Rice.
Rice fans are a lot like UCLA fans right now, except worse because they root for Rice and not UCLA.
The past five years of Rice football under head coach David Bailiff have been drenched in mediocrity with records of 3-9, 10-3, 2-10, 4-8 and 4-8. The fan-base is already upset with the guy and it seems to be the consensus that this season — his sixth with Rice — is his last chance to prove that he can get the team back to where they were four years ago. Trust in Rice athletic director Rick Greenspan has dwindled and no one feels Greenspan can make the right hire if Bailiff does indeed get forced out. If you want me to give you a summary of UCLA football, replace “Rick Greenspan” with “Dan Guerrero” and adjust the records by very, very little.
(Of course, Rice has been an awful football school since the beginning of time, so the circumstances are different in that regard. UCLA is trying to get back to where it was a decade ago while Rice is trying to be what they never were. No offense, Rice fans, we’re hoping Bailiff redeems himself.)
Rice has been pretty awful defensively for the longest time. Last season, Rice allowed their opponents 400 points on the dot, an average of 33.3 a game, good– er, bad for being in the bottom 20 in the nation at 100th, while allowing just over 460 yards per game — per game! – to go along with nearly five touchdowns. (Although we shouldn’t be talking smack here, since UCLA ranked 92nd in the nation in points allowed per game.)
So this should be a good start to the season, for the UCLA offense, unless we revert back to our stale offense last season. If that happens, we’d like to pull this quote from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
It’s like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob!
We’re sure our offense — passing and rushing — shouldn’t be worried about the defense, considering Noel Mazzone is notorious for tearing up opposing defenses and UCLA looked as explosive as ever during the Spring Game in May. Add the fact that the running game looks only to get stronger as a result, and I can’t see why UCLA couldn’t hang 30 on Rice.
Advantage: UCLA (FINALLY!)