UCLA football is set to kickoff their season opener against Nevada this Saturday out in Pasadena. With one of the toughest schedules in college football, here is a preview of the worst case scenario for the Bruins; again, as I say in all my “worst case” situations, this is NOT at all a prediction, just an extremely pessimistic take on things. There is an optimistic view on its way soon (one I hold closer to my heart), so hold on your angry rhetoric and wait for the bright side of things. This isn’t gonna happen Bruin fans! In the wise words of comedian Louis CK, “Of course [it won't happen]… but maybe.”
Luckily for us Bruin fans our worst case scenario is a 7-5 season — and while not living up to expectations or newly implemented standards, that was a dream come true for some of us 2 or 3 years back. In this dark article — which by the way, pains me to write — I’m gonna focus on more of the bad than the good; here is where I see things potentially going wrong.
1st slip up: @NEBRASKA (9/14/2013)
I’ve never been to Lincoln, Nebraska, but I know enough about it to tell you that its not anywhere in your best interest to play there as a guest. There is a sea of red that roars as Taylor Martinez tucks and runs for another 70+ yard touchdown. Another roar as they cap off yet another drive that pounded through the Bruins young secondary. Time in and time out its big plays that keep the Bruins just out of the lead. UCLA’s offense plays strong — but can’t outscore the tough Nebraska squad that relentlessly collapses the pocket and tackles for loss after loss. Nonetheless the Bruins play well- but not well enough as they drop a must win to them Huskers by a score of 24-17.
Enter the defining point of UCLA’s schedule. The make or break. The chance to catch eyes for a great bowl bid- or fall to the best of the best (And a lesser power). To catapult them into that group of greatness- or float around the bubble of it.
The Bruins have one of the toughest 3 game stretches thinkable- starting 10/12/13 vs. Cal.
The Golden Bears, for some reason or another, have always troubled the Bruins. Be it the one game last season that exploited rising star QB Brett Hundley as a redshirt freshman, or shutting down any other great passer in UCLA history. They get it done against the Warriors from Westwood. Simple as that. Repeating like last seasons game against Cal, the Bruins fall; This time at the doorstep of a win losing by a last second field goal that put the Golden Bears up 31-28. The Bruins end up with a 3-2 record despite all their effort.
Seven days later the Bruins head to Stanford to face the preseason #4 team in the country. The stingiest defense in all of College Football. The Most grounded team with a stellar coach like Jim Mora- but its Stanford’s coach David Shaw who brings home the “W”. I’m not gonna go too in depth with this one- as it has so many possibilities. Could be nearly scoreless- but it could be a test of fire power to.
At .500, UCLA isn’t looking forward to playing in Eugene- but they are sure as hell up for the challenge. The Mighty Ducks and The Bruins exchange big play after big play. A shootout where Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley look more like your classic gunslingers in the NFL- let’s say Tony Romo and Brett Farve. One after the other they hurl the pigskin downfield for receptions, TD’s, and like all gunslingers, interceptions. It’s a battle of offense- and the defenses don’t spend long chunks of time on the field either. Oregon prevails though, knocking off UCLA 52-42. UCLA is resting uncomfortably at 3-4.
UCLA then goes on to win every game following the catastrophic chain of games- excluding a loss to Arizona state. In the past 2 seasons, UCLA has beaten ASU by only 6 cumulative points- a field goal each game. This season it’ll be 9 as the Bruins suffer due to a last second kick that wins it for the Sun Devils.
So there it is — 5 losses, and they were in it for most of ‘em to. Whatta shame that would be; luckily it’s not gonna happen. I’m counting on the more optimistic view to come soon — so keep an eye out, and as always, GO BRUINS!