Can UCLA Football Run The Table and Win The Pac-12 South Division?


Things have not gone the way UCLA Football expected and even though they control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, can they actually win it?

The UCLA Football team currently controls their own destiny, but so does Utah. If either the Bruins or Utes win the remainder of their regular season games, they win the Pac-12 South Division. In a third scenario, if UCLA beats Utah, but then loses to USC, the Trojans win the South.

Needless to say, it is going to be a brutal fight to the finish in the South.

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We all knew the Pac-12 South Division was going to be a bloodbath and it has not disappointed, especially with these three teams. USC was embarrassed at home by Washington and Stanford. Utah was thumped by USC. UCLA enigmaticly lost to Arizona State and was then destroyed by Stanford.

It has been a frustratingly entertaining season so far. “Frustratingly” being the key word in that sentence, especially with UCLA.

Despite all things going on with the UCLA Football team, they are still in position to win the South, but let us be realistic, it is going to take a miracle.

This has been an absolutely shocking year in terms of the injuries the Bruins have sustained. There have been a handful of season-ending injuries, several minor injuries that are week-to-week and one player even had to take a medical retirement (Simon Goines).

But UCLA forges ahead. Though weakened by injuries, they have a deep pool of talent. The only problem here is that these “next men up” are young and inexperienced.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

We saw that last week against Colorado. The defense was so depleted that they had to burn a redshirt as freshman Josh Woods got his first action of the year (eight games in) but he is not the first. Many Bruins have had their first experience playing Bruin ball this year because of injuries. That is good for experience going forward, but the defensive game plan takes a hit because of it.

The result has Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley having to play less complicated schemes so that the younger players can adapt. This will be troubling for the the Bruins going into their last four games.

Hopefully, this is not a problem this weekend against Oregon State. The Beavers are in transition with new coach Gary Anderson and are getting beat up right now. Hopefully UCLA can do the same.

The week after, the Bruins play their last home game of the season as they welcome Washington State to the Rose Bowl. The Cougars are a similar team to Cal which UCLA matched up well against, so hopefully they can dominate WSU as they did the Bears.

After that is when it gets sticky. UCLA finishes the season with two road games at Utah and at USC. Yes Bruin fans, the season ends with games against teams that are also looking to capture the South Division.

Talk about needing to get up for these games. Right now, it is fair to say that UCLA will have a tough time against Utah. So much that it is not a stretch to say the Bruins will lose that game.

Next: Pac-12 Power Poll

As for USC, though they have a new found energy with interim head coach Clay Helton, Bruin coach Jim Mora seems to always be prepared for USC. Still, this is not a given and the Bruins should not enter this game with the mentality that they will once again conquer Troy as they have in the last three years.

Either way, the Bruins need to dig deep if they want to try to win the South for the second time in Mora’s tenure. Injuries will be an issue, but so will game planning and preparation, but I will save that for another article.