Sep 21, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Jordon James (6) runs past New Mexico State Aggies defensive back Kawe Johnson (16) during the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Football Ranked Fifth In Sports Illustrated's Preseason Poll

Fall camp in San Bernadino is nearing its end.

Position battles are beginning to be finalized and freshman are making their mark, which can only mean one thing: Football is almost here!

With the season kicking off on later this month, Sports Illustrated has released their preseason poll.

SI is certainly high on the Bruins, who are coming off a 10-3 season, and they ranked them fifth in their poll.

UCLA has established themselves as one of the Pac-12 powers during the Jim Mora era, but last year they took a step forward towards contending for a national championship, not just conference accolades.

Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley fine-tuned his accuracy last year, and UCLA’s defense was dominant once again with linebackers Anthony Barr, Jordan Zumwalt and Eric Kendricks leading the charge there.

UCLA has the personnel to once again be one of the top teams in the Pac-12, though they are well positioned for a run at a national title in 2014 too.

The only thing the Bruins are missing is a true number one running back, but the performances by the trio of Jordon James, Paul Perkins, and Steven Manfro have basically deemed that unnecessary and shown that UCLA can do just fine with a running back by committee.

The Bruins have been shown respect heading into this season by both SI and The Associated Press, who gave them a #7 ranking. The question now is if they will justify that respect this year.

With the talent and great coaching the Bruins have, not to mention a loaded schedule that features home games against Oregon, Stanford, and USC, they definitely have the pieces in place and the opportunity to prove both SI and the AP right, and earn a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff in the process.

And UCLA certainly will be a scary team for the other three when and if they get there.

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