UCLA Football head coach Jim Mora is entering his fourth year leading the program. Unlike recent coaches, he is taking the Bruins to a new level in Year Four.
UCLA Football will be fielding the best team in Jim Mora era this fall. We think so and Phil Steele thinks so. Going into his fourth year as the head coach of the Bruins, Mora looks to continue the upward trend of recent success with UCLA.
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The Bruins have three straight 9-win seasons. The last two seasons they captured back-to-back 10-win seasons, the first time that has happened since 1998. The Bruins are 3-0 vs USC. They are 2-1 in bowl games with a recent 40-35 victory over #14 Kansas State (the highest ranking team they have played in a bowl game) in the Alamo Bowl. To say they have momentum going into Mora’s fourth season would be an understatement.
That differs to previous coaches entering their fourth year as the UCLA Football head coach.
Going all the way back to 1979, the fourth year of one of the greatest UCLA Football coaches Terry Donahue, the Bruins regressed from the three previous seasons. This has happened to every Bruin head coach since then. In Donahue’s first three years, he went 9-2-1, 7-4 and 8-3-1. In year 4, Donahue went 5-6.
Bob Toledo seemed to follow the same pattern as he went 5-6, 10-2 and 10-2 in his first three years. Year 4 was a bit less successful as he had the Bruins go 4-7.
Then there were the Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel campaigns and I am sure I do not have to remind Bruin fans of how those went. In five years, Dorrell went 35-27 with only two seasons above .500. After a deceptive 10-2 mark in Year 3, Dorrell went an underwhelming 7-6 in Year 4, followed by a 6-6 record in Year 5, leading to his dismissal.
Needless to say, things are looking a lot better for Mora going into his fourth year.
Neuheisel was not as lucky. In his first two stints as an HC at Colorado and Washington, he went 33-14 and 33-16. At UCLA he went 21-29. Though many Bruin fans were calling for his removal after a sub-standard 4-8 record in Year 3, Neuheisel improved in Year 4, but not by much as he went 6-7. He was relieved of his duties as head coach after his fourth year.
That brings us to Jim Mora who currently has a 29-11 record going into his fourth year. Unlike his predecessors, Mora looks to have the opposite momentum going into Year 4. Aside from quarterback Brett Hundley going to the NFL, Mora returns most of his offense and defense. College football analysts are picking the Bruins between 11th and 14th in their preseason polls. ESPN even picked the Bruins to win the Pac-12 South Division.
Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora looks on prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Needless to say, things are looking a lot better for Mora going into his fourth year. Not that I believe there is a Year 4 lull with UCLA Football coaches, but it seems that with Mora in control, he will blow away expectations in his fourth season.
Because of that, this will be the first time in a long time UCLA Football continues to go up in a head coaches fourth year, leading to bigger and better things for the Bruin program. So much that UCLA could be in the hunt for a Pac-12 Championship and possibly even a national title, but we will see about that in due time.