Since Jim Mora arrived in Westwood four years ago, he has stated that he wants to win a national championship with UCLA football, so is this the year that it happens?
It is true, UCLA football has not won anything big in the Jim Mora era, but given their momentum in the last three years, it is not hard to believe the Bruins will have a spectacular year in 2015. Who knows they just might end up with one of the biggest seasons since 1954.
More from Go Joe Bruin
- UCLA Football: It’s time for the nation to meet Dante Moore
- UCLA Football: Where are they ranked heading into week 4
- UCLA Football: Position battle breakdown for Utah showdown
- UCLA vs. Utah: Location, time, prediction, and more
- UCLA Football: Highlights from Chip Kelly’s appearance on the Jim Rome Show
UCLA football head coach Jim Mora has recruited, developed, executed, started to win and even changed the overall culture of the football program. In three seasons, he is 29-11, but that is not enough to take the Bruins to elite status. Not yet. The Bruins have had 3 9-win seasons in a row and back-to-back 10-win seasons, yet he really has not won big enough games to be called elite.
Sad to say, but it is true. The Alamo Bowl victory this past January was the Bruin’s biggest postseason victory, under Mora. Though he did win the Pac-12 South once and is undefeated against USC, UCLA football has not done much else.
With Mora, they have not won a Pac-12 championship, they have not been in a New Year’s Six bowl, they have not been to a Rose Bowl and they have not been in a BCS/College Football Playoff game.
Does that change the season?
The UCLA football team is once again expected to do well, but now some expect them to go the distance? Well, why not!
Sure, that is just one simple tweet from the opinion of a college football expert Dan Wolken, but there is some truth to it seeing as UCLA is returning 18 starters from a 10-3 2014 team. They do lose their offensive and defensive leaders, quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Eric Kendricks, but they also have a lot of talent. A LOT of talent.
They are returning an O-line with the most collective starts in the nation, Paul Perkins who is the top running back in the Pac-12, one of the best defensive line duos in Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark and then there is two-way ironman, Myles Jack. They even brought in legendary Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley to lead the defense. So yes, UCLA football has a chance to be very good, national championship good.
However, many factors will be involved in their ultimate post-season destination. There is playing in the toughest conference/division in the nation, the inability to beat Stanford and even though this is a smaller issue, the need to lessen penalties that have plagued the Bruins for the last three years.
Beyond that, this is the best UCLA team in the Jim Mora era, at least per Phil Steele.
Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack (30) celebrates with fans following the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. UCLA defeated Arizona State 62-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
For UCLA to be put in such a select group as the seven other teams listed, claiming that the Bruins can win it all, is humbling. But the Bruins cannot get trapped in that mentality. Last year we saw how the Bruins can get a little bit caught up in preseason hype and that something the Bruins will not do this season. To prove they can win big, they have to be focused and this could be the year for that… or at least the start of several years of that.
Though it will be difficult, this year will be about something to prove. If they can muster up the effort to go deep into the post-season, we could finally be seeing UCLA football around some championships… both Pac-12 and National.