With UCLA’s football season just three (!) days away from kick-off, season previews from the mainstream media are beginning to surface.
One of them is from Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel, and it’s actually pretty kind to our UCLA Bruins.
Where does Mandel have us in his preseason bowl projections? The Bruins are apparently set to take on NC State in the Sun Bowl.
That’s reasonable, and probably nothing we should scoff at. This preseason projection would put UCLA as the fifth-best team in the Pac-12, behind Oregon, South Cal, Stanford and Utah, all four of which are top-25 teams (OK, so Utah doesn’t show up in many top-25 polls, but they should, so let’s include ‘em). If UCLA fans scoff at being in the Sun Bowl, it’s because … well it’s because they’re UCLA fans.
Last season, the Utes and Georgia Tech met up in the Sun Bowl (with records of 7-5 and 8-4 respectively), where Utah pulled off an incredible, late-rally overtime win.
So the presumed record is probably on par with what we’ve said this whole time, which is around seven or eight wins on the season and a nice bowl game to go along with it.
For you rivals freaks, it’s important to note that South Cal was projected for No. 2 in the conference, in the Rose Bowl, while Oregon would head to the BCS Championship game to play the LSU Tigers.
Can you get any happier with these projections? (Yes. Cal is projected to play in the oft-maligned Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. We love you, Stewart Mandel.)