The 2012 UCLA football season is halfway over, and if you told us three months ago that the Bruins would be 4-2, we would’ve taken it.
Of course, what we wouldn’t have known is that UCLA would be coming off a loss to a then-1-4 California team in Berkeley, and that the loss would be 43-17.
And knowing what we know about this team, and the rest of the Pac-12, the rest of the season feels like a hellhole. All of a sudden, the Bruins have a daunting schedule and look particularly vulnerable.
Let’s take a look, because I guess we kind of have to.
Next week: vs. Utah (2-3)
The Utes have been largely disappointing, but have only lost to teams that have looked good. Those losses include Utah State (which was 4-1 prior to losing to BYU, which was coming off a top-25 ranking), ASU (now 4-1), and USC. They showed a renewed spirit in Salt Lake City against the Trojans and will be hungry to get back on track. The game is in Los Angeles, and now that the Bruins have entirely unraveled, it’s not crazy to think the Utes take advantage of a reeling UCLA squad.
Prediction: Utah 28, UCLA 24
10/27: @ ASU (4-1)
Todd Graham’s looked amazing as the new head honcho at Arizona State. Their lone loss was a close one against a decent SEC team in Mizzou, and they destroyed the Utes 37-7 at home. The Sun Devils have been known to fall apart late in the season, and they play Oregon prior to their matchup with the Bruins, but at this point, ASU looks far more trustworthy than UCLA does.
Prediction: ASU 38, UCLA 27
11/3: vs. Arizona (3-3)
Arizona is just a few good plays away from being a 5-1 team, losing 18th ranked teams in Oregon State and Stanford in consecutive weeks while putting up massive offensive numbers in both games. Those games went to the wire, and you’d figure the Wildcats — which look far better than 3-3 — would have to bounce back. The game is at home, but the Wildcats haven’t had an embarrassing loss much like UCLA has against Cal.
Prediction: Arizona 45, UCLA 30
11/10: @ Washington State (2-4)
Washington State still sucks.
Prediction: UCLA 40, WSU 22
11/17: vs. USC (4-1)
We know that USC hasn’t looked all that scary at all, narrowly beating the Utes and Bears by college football standards, and they never looked amazing all season save for their week one win against Hawai’i, which has looked awful this year. Still, they’ve now jumped UCLA in terms of the impressiveness factor, and you’d imagine the Trogans would figure things out so late in the season.
Prediction: USC 48, UCLA 31
11/24: vs. Stanford (4-1)
At first, I didn’t think Stanford would be as good as they were pegged to be (which was top-25). Now, they’ve entirely legitimized their ranking, with wins against USC and Arizona. Their defense has been fantastic most days and their offense has been sporadic enough to be good other days. The Cardinal deserve a top-20 ranking, and will likely stay there for awhile. UCLA’s offense has been entirely figured out, so it’s not like they won’t have a hard time.
Prediction: Stanford 24, UCLA 18
FINAL SEASON RECORD: 5-7
UCLA plays in a tough conference and has looked by far the least impressive of the teams worthy of rankings this season. The power rankings are a different story, but considering everyone has a blueprint of how to beat the Bruins — with quick passes to the outside against UCLA’s quick corners and by pressuring that UCLA offensive line, which is way young — teams could beat UCLA a lot easier than they could before.
This sucks. Life sucks.