Arizona Is Good, But UCLA Football Needs A Real Test


Arizona is a fine squad, but the UCLA Football team needs a bigger test as they continue Pac-12 play.

So how do I put this? Arizona is not as good as everyone thought they were. The UCLA Football team as a whole saw to that Saturday night when they beat the Wildcats for a fourth year in a row. The Bruins had six touchdowns in the first half as they lead 42-14 at the break. UCLA went on to win 56-30.

This was expected, but no body expected this.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins were a two point favorite in this game. That is understandable as UCLA and Arizona were both ranked teams playing in Tucson. Too close for comfort for some, but to use a betting term, this was essentially a “pick ’em”.

I wondered about that the entire week before the game. At least before the Myles Jack injury, in which I had UCLA winning 35-17. After the Myles Jack injury I had the score at 35-31. Yes, I believe that Jack is such a significant figure that he takes points away from his opponents, that does not mean I do not have faith in the Bruin defense as a whole.

The defense is very capable of holding things down even without Jack, Eddie Vanderdoes and Fabian Moreau, three starters that are out for the season with injuries. I knew they would be able to handle the Wildcat offense, I just did not expect this.

Now quickly going back to Arizona, it was suspicious how some critics had them as their darlings this season. Though they won the South Division last year, 2015 just did not seem to be their best shot at a return to the Pac-12 Championship Game. It is odd how everyone outside Arizona and the Pac-12 knew what we were getting with Arizona. It also did not help that the Wildcats have a ton of injuries.

Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Soso Jamabo (1) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Though they started 3-0, it was against teams that are collectively 4-8. Surprisingly, the team that is 0-4, UTSA, is the team that gave Arizona their toughest game of the year. The Wildcats seemingly had no trouble with Nevada and Northern Arizona (whom the Wildcats put up 44 and 77 points on, respectively).

With the Pac-12 Conference as good as it is right now, teams need to toughening up their non-confernce schedule. That is what UCLA has done and it has not only tested them, but prepared them for conference play as they took on Virginia, UNLV and BYU. Next year it gets even worse for UCLA as they play at Texas A&M, at home to UNLV and at BYU. Ouch.

So now, even though Arizona was a worthy foe, UCLA Football needs a real test. That will be Stanford.

So now, even though Arizona was a worthy foe, UCLA Football needs a real test. That will be Stanford.

Not to look past Arizona State this Saturday, but seeing what USC did to them on their home field shows that ASU was also a glamour pick to win the South Division, just as many did with Arizona. So hopefully the Bruins dismantle the Sun Devils on Saturday or there might be other problems, but right now, the first big test will happen in two and a half weeks.

That Stanford match-up is looming large on Thursday, October 15 up in the Bay Area. After getting embarrassed by Northwestern in their season opener, Kevin Hogan and company have been putting it to their opponents, which included a 41-31 win against USC. They look ready to rock and seeing as how UCLA has not beaten Stanford in seven attempts, this game will determine exactly what kind of team the Bruins are.

That will not happen against teams like Arizona and Arizona State.

Next: UCLA vs Arizona: Position Group Report Card

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