UCLA Football: What Will Define A Successful Season?


It will be Year 4 of Jim Mora’s tenure as the head of UCLA football and though he has been slowly making the Bruins a force in the college football world, he still has a long way to go. So after back-to-back 10-win seasons, what will define success for UCLA Football?

RELATED: The UCLA Football ‘Award Watch List’ List

Can you imagine what this UCLA Football team would be like if Brett Hundley returned for his senior season? Would UCLA football be a Top 10 team? Top 5? Top 3? Considering that he is the only offensive starter not returning from last year, the answer to that could very well be “yes”.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

But Hundley did leave and things are different. Not necessarily for the worse, just different. The Bruins could have true freshman Josh Rosen start for them at quarterback this season and even though that is a rare site in college football, many will be impressed at how this freshman plays like a veteran.

But wait, there is more! The Bruins return the Pac-12 leading rusher Paul Perkins, the most experienced offensive line in the nation and a deep receiving corps led by Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller. If Rosen can adapt quickly, the transition away from Hundley might not be so bad.

On the defensive side, it is believed that the Bruins did not meet their full potential in 2014. Sure they were third in the Pac-12 in total defense, but if you looked closely at the Bruins, there were little things that held them back from being elite. That might change this year with the arrival of new defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. With his experience, which spans three decades, he could bring balance to the defensive side of the force.

MORE: Can UCLA Football Win The National Championship?

So if Rosen is good with a solid offense, and the defense takes a step forward, this UCLA Football team could be great. In that case, what would be considered successful this year?

Getting a 10-win season has been the mark of the Bruin’s success the last few years, so now success will be winning the Pac-12 Conference.

Getting a 10-win season has been the mark of the Bruin’s success the last few years, so now success will be winning the Pac-12 Conference.

Because the Bruins have not yet won a Pac-12 title with Mora, this should be the minimum requirement for a UCLA football team to have a successful season in 2015 and beyond. And if they go further, then they need to ride their success out to the very end and keep that momentum going! But let us back track…

What if things do not go exactly the way of a conference championship? What would be successful then?

Oct 25, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora watches his team warm up prior to game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

First, let us say UCLA doesn’t make the Pac-12 Championship Game, narrowly missing out on a chance to win the conference again. Whatever subsequent bowl they go to, they need to win… by a lot. We will tackle the Bruins having a worse finish than this in a future article.

Now let us say the Bruins make it to the Pac-12 Championship Game and lose. There is still the chance they make a New Year’s Six Bowl and a victory in that game would be imperative for the Bruins to end on a successful note.

Whatever path they take, the goal is to win and win big. It seems the Bruins are almost there, but until they get to that next step, they will not be elite. That is something, it seems, Jim Mora will not have.

Next: UCLA Football: Offensive Line Roster and Depth Chart

More from Go Joe Bruin