UCLA Football: Too-Early 2013 Schedule and Predictions


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Aug. 31  UCLA vs Nevada    Rose Bowl, Pasadena

On September 1st, the Bruins should be 1-0. The Wolf Pack is a very strong team with a young quarterback in Cody Fajardo. Once home to Super Bowl QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada has had its fair share of success. Last season, Nevada’s defense allowed 34 points per game, the 102nd worst in college football. The Bruins on the other hand put up just over 34 points per game. With a strong incoming defensive class, the Bruins should be able to contain the Pack and posting 34 points should mean a surefire win. I say the Bruins win it, 37-21.

Sept. 14   UCLA at Nebraska   Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE

If asked what UCLA’s three toughest games of the season are, this one ranks 3rd. Last season Nebraska (and its entire population) waltzed  into Pasadena with the expectation of running over the Bruins. Little did they know that they would lose 36-30 at the hands of 217 rushing yards by Johnathan Franklin. This year, UCLA heads to Nebraska to face off with the Huskers’ senior quarterback one last time. Taylor Martinez has the arm strength to drop bombs in the secondary while still being considered one of the most athletic QBs in the nation. Can UCLA contain him? Can UCLA’s lineman beat those of Nebraska on both ends of the ball?  We’ll have to wait and seem, but how does this game end? The Bruins win, 28-17. UCLA is 2-0 to start the season.

Sept. 21   UCLA vs New Mexico State   Rose Bowl, Pasadena

I’m not going to go very in-depth for this one because it seems obvious that the Bruins would have to screw things up in a way I can’t even fathom to lose this one. Last season, New Mexico State won just one game. In their final game of the season, the Aggies lost by 38 points to a team that finished its season with only four wins. Brett Hundley and Co. come into the game with a mindset that sticks the whole game: Win. That’s just what happens, and in quite a nice fashion. My prediction: Bruins win it, 46-14. UCLA is undefeated at 3-0.

Oct. 3  UCLA at Utah  Rice-Eccles Stadium Salt Lake City, UT

In 2012, Utah won only one of three games against AP Top 25 teams. The Utes Beat BYU, then ranked No. 25, by three points. Not the most impressive win, but nonetheless a win. The Utes traveled to the Rose Bowl and lost to the Bruins by seven. With all due respect to Utah, this game was only close because of mistakes by UCLA. Mistakes like a fumbled punt return by Steven Manfro are what really changed the game. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by Utah’s Ryan Lacy for a TD. Case and point. So how do the Bruins fair this year in Utah? They eke out the win 31-27. 4-0 to start the season? Sounds good to me.

Oct. 12   UCLA vs California   Rose Bowl, Pasadena

Historically speaking, Cal has always been the team that manages to shut down any UCLA quarterback. Last year, the Bruins went to Cal only to have their weaknesses exploited. Brett Hundley looked like he had never played football in his life, throwing four interceptions on 31-of-47 passing. This year I think the Bruins have learned their lesson and when the 4th quarter ends, the Bruins will be 5-0. UCLA defeats the Golden Bears, 21-10.

Oct. 19   UCLA at Stanford  Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA

After starting the season 5-0, the Bruins find themselves in the AP Top 15 on their way to Northern California to face Stanford. Last year, Stanford came to the Rose Bowl and embarrassed UCLA in the final game of the regular season. The following week UCLA traveled to Stanford for the Pac-12 Championship Game. After a thrilling battle, the Cardinal came up on top, winning 27-24 en-route to a Rose Bowl Championship. This year, I see another thriller that hands UCLA its first loss of the season at the hands of quarterback Kevin Hogan. The Bruins fall to 5-1 after losing, 31-27.

Oct. 26  UCLA at Oregon  Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Bruins are ready for redemption. After a season in which they did not play Oregon in 2012, UCLA is eager to face off with the Ducks in Eugene. Can the young but talented secondary of UCLA stop Oregon’s high-powered offense? Not yet, even to a Chip Kelly-less Oregon team. The secondary is still growing. I see Oregon running over UCLA and winning, 38-14. The Bruins drop another one and head home with a 5-2 record.

Nov. 2  UCLA vs Colorado   Rose Bowl, Pasadena

This game will, most likely, end like it did last season. Back in late September, the Bruins clobbered Buffs in a 42-14 win. This season, its only gonna get worse for Colorado, which visits LA. The Bruins should have no problem getting their largest win of the season in a route of the Buffs. Bruins win, 49-14. After snapping their two-game skid, the Bruins find themselves at 6-2.

Nov. 9    UCLA at Arizona  Arizona Stadium, Tuscon, AZ

The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats ran into the Rose Bowl last season only to find themselves running out faster than they had ever imagined. UCLA QB Brett Hundley threw for 288 yards and three TDs while completing 82 percent of his passes. Running back Johnathan Franklin averaged nearly seven yards per carry and added two touchdowns as the Bruins ripped Zona to shreds. This year it won’t be nearly as easy as their 66-10 statement win last season. The Bruins, though, can win this game if they leave everything on the field. The Bruins hold on to win, 28-13, and add yet another win to their season. Landing at 7-2, the Bruins are again among the AP Top 15.

Nov. 15  UCLA vs Washington  Rose Bowl, Pasadena

Last year, the Huskies and the Bruins did not play each other, and to the Bruins’ liking. Washington teetered on the edge of the top 25 for much of the season and while UCLA would have most likely beaten the Dawgs, it wouldn’t have been easy. That being said, Washington will retain its leaders in rushing, passing, and receiving. For UCLA to win this game they will need to out hustle the Huskies. You won’t beat this team by trying to force turnovers. Bishop Sankey–Washington’s leading rusher–didn’t fumble once last season. As for their quarterback, Keith Price threw 13 interceptions on the season– only four more than Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. The Bruins take on the Huskies at home and I see UCLA bringing home the win, scoring 23 points compared to the Huskies 14. 8-2 are the Bruins, and with two games left to play, things are looking bright.

Nov. 23  UCLA vs Arizona State  Rose Bowl, Pasadena

In one of UCLA’s most thrilling games last year, the Bruins won in Tempe on a last second field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn. The Sun Devils were riding the momentum at home after they led 14-0 within six minutes of kickoff. The Bruins came roaring back en-route to a 45-43 win at ASU. This year ASU visits Pasadena and hopes to get revenge for what the Bruins did in late October. ASU is going home with a bitter taste though, as the Bruins will prevail, 34-10.  The Bruins have one game left and at 9-2, they are on the verge of their first ten win season since 2005.

Nov. 30  UCLA at USC  Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

Of course, the only team standing between UCLA and the ten win plateau is cross-town rival USC. The Bruins knocked off USC last season by playing with grit and pride. Led by running back Johnathan Franklin, UCLA handed USC its fifth loss of the season, winning 38-28. Nothing is easy to predict in a rivalry game, but assuming that the Bruins play at the level they are capable of, they should have no problem running over a declining Trojan program. On the other hand, like mentioned above, rivalry games can swing any way you can imagine. It’s hard enough to beat the Trojans, let alone in The Coliseum. Can the Bruins reach their tenth win of the season? I’d say so. The Bruins finish the season 10-2 after knocking off USC in a 34-17 win.