UCLA Football Under Terry Donahue – 1996-2015

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Dec 26, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Bowling Green Falcons athletic director Chris Kingston talks to new head coach Dino Babers during the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


2006 – Cable leaves before the season to be a position coach in the NFL; he is replaced by promoted RB/QB coach Dino Babers. The Bruins take a step back, replacing a ton of departing talent, and finish 9-4 with another victory over USC – knocking the Trojans out of yet another national title game – and a win in the Emerald Bowl against Florida State.

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2007 – In a season marred by injuries throughout the offense, UCLA manages to start 5-0 before going 3-4 down the stretch, losing to #8 USC to finish the regular season. The Bruins drop the Las Vegas Bowl to #19 BYU to finish 8-5.

2008 – UCLA suffers its first losing season in 14 years, as no quarterback can stay healthy. A loss in the final game to #5 USC gives the Bruins a 6-6 record in the regular season. After a subsequent loss to Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, Babers is fired, and some in the press begin to wonder if Donahue, now 64, ought to retire.

2009 – A mini-bounce-back season lifts spirits in Westwood. A win against Tennessee in Neyland Stadium, in which Phil Snow’s ever stout defense shuts out the Volunteers, kicks off the season with a statement. Only losses against Stanford, Oregon, and USC suggest that the improved Bruins remain below the elite tier of Pac-10 teams.

2010 – The Bruin offense, now coordinated by former UCLA wide receiver Karl Dorrell, again stagnates. UCLA has failed to have a clear starter at quarterback since Drew Olson left. The Bruins finish 6-6 with a loss to USC. The 8-5 Trojans – now under Lane Kiffin, who replaces the NFL-bound Pete Carroll amid a rash of NCAA sanctions – have taken a step back, and Bruin fans and boosters want to take advantage of the opportunity to get back on top of the city’s football scene. Donahue lets Dorrell go and hires Cal Lutheran alum and Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman.

2011 – The Bruins bounce back in a major way going 9-3 in the regular season, with the only losses coming at #6 Stanford, at Utah, and at #10 USC. UCLA’s 6-3 conference record leaves the Bruins second in the newly formed South Division of the now-expanded Pac-12, but as USC is under postseason sanctions, UCLA represents the division against #8 Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. The #13 Bruins lose to Oregon but go on to win the Holiday Bowl against unranked Texas.

Next: 2012