2016 UCLA Football Schedule Released


The 2016 UCLA Football schedule was released today, and it shapes up rather favorably for the Bruins. Here’s a breakdown of how the scheduling works for and against UCLA.

9.3 – @ Texas A&M

  • Pros – With Kyle Allen transferring, the quarterback position will belong to Kyler Murray, and UCLA catches him before he gets a ton of game experience. Also, A&M has yet to nab a marquee win at home under head coach Kevin Sumlin. Unlike with the ‘neutral site’ nonsense against Texas in 2014, the Bruins get credit for a road game here.
  • Cons – Sumlin’s A&M teams have excelled in early games only to collapse into October and November. Kyle Field is an incredibly intimidating place to play, and UCLA hasn’t played an SEC team since the 2008/2009 series with Tennessee.
  • Lean – Slight UCLA

9.10 – UNLV

  • Pros – This can be a refocus game between road non-conference tilts. The location and timing of this game doesn’t really impact the outcome.
  • Cons – None?
  • Lean – Strong UCLA

9.17 – @ BYU

  • Pros – Catching the Cougars early in their new coach’s tenure will make this game more manageable. It also won’t be ridiculously cold in mid-September.
  • Cons – BYU is a tough road opponent, and the last time the Bruins went to Provo they lost 59-0.
  • Lean – Slight UCLA

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9.24 – Stanford

  • Pros – This game is in as favorable a spot as it can be, coming very early in the career of Kevin Hogan‘s successor. An early loss tends to have less poll impact, for whatever that’s worth these days.
  • Cons – Stanford still owns UCLA, which means that UCLA is primed to start conference play with a loss. The Bruins drop home conference games all too often – the last time UCLA beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl was 2008.
  • Lean – Slight Stanford

10.1 – Arizona

  • Pros – UCLA still owns Arizona under Jim Mora. Arizona only tends to pull their crazy, season-ruining upsets at the end of the year.
  • Cons – Anu Solomon and (potentially) Scooby Wright will be back.
  • Lean – Strong UCLA

10.8 – @ Arizona State

  • Pros – This game has become the opposite of the Cal series, in that the road teams are undefeated under both current coaches. Mike Bercovici‘s successor at quarterback will still be relatively new, as will Mike Norvell‘s successor at offensive coordinator.
  • Cons – Will this be the year that Noel Mazzone finally remembers to plan for Todd Graham‘s blitzing? Don’t hold your breath. Also, it can still be pretty hot in Tempe in early October.
  • Lean – Slight UCLA

Sep 19, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora in the second quarter of the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

10.15 – @ Washington State

  • Pros – Washington State’s home field weather advantage will not yet be in full effect. Being on the road tends to keep Mora’s UCLA teams focused; so the chance of another lackluster letdown game is low.
  • Cons – Road games are still tiring, and the offense will have just been beaten up by Arizona State’s defense the week prior and now will be expected to keep pace with Luke Falk and the rest of Mike Leach‘s passing attack.
  • Lean – Toss-up

10.22 – Utah

  • Pros – It’s always nice not to have to go to Salt Lake City. I believe both Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson will be gone, so the Utes will be taking a first-year starter on the road.
  • Cons – This game is perfectly placed to either break a three-game winning streak or to turn a loss at Washington State into back-to-back defeats, potentially defining the season.
  • Lean – Slight UCLA

11.3 – @ Colorado

  • Pros – The bye week on 1o.29 comes after six straight weeks of tough opponents and after playing one of the Bruins’ most physical opponents. This is the only Thursday night game of the season for UCLA.
  • Cons – It’s going to be cold in Boulder. Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau will be in his senior season. UCLA went into overtime during its last game at Colorado. Thursday night against the division bottom-dweller is prime letdown material.
  • Lean – Strong UCLA

11.12 – Oregon State

  • Pros – This is a winnable game scheduled right before the USC game.
  • Cons – Seth Collins will have almost two full seasons under his belt at quarterback, and the Beavers should be seeing progress by this time under Gary Andersen.
  • Lean – Strong UCLA

11.19 – USC

  • Pros – It’s at home, where the crowd will be wanting revenge. USC finishing with two rivalry games means that part of their focus may be on the following week’s game against Notre Dame.
  • Cons – Cody Kessler‘s successor at quarterback will likely have a full season behind him. The Trojans will likely have recovered physically and psychologically from their punishing game against Alabama in September.
  • Lean – Toss-up

11.26 – @ Cal

  • Pros –  The only alternative to playing a game after USC every other year (when they play Notre Dame on rivalry weekend) is playing without a bye and without a Thursday game; that’s not going to happen, so if UCLA has to play a post-USC game every year, Cal is probably the optimal opponent. It’s still technically a rivalry game (albeit a lesser one), which should limit the potential for let down.
  • Cons – Who am I kidding? This has let-down written all over it, especially considering UCLA’s recent woes at Berkeley. Without Jared Goff – assuming he goes pro – Cal could very likely be playing for bowl eligibility. This late in the season, replacing Goff and the weirdness from the Sonny Dykes offseason drama will be far back in the rearview mirror of the Bears. This has the potential of being a season ruiner for the Bruins.
  • Lean – Slight UCLA


The schedule is overall very favorable to UCLA. The only real negative aspect of the when and where factors comes from the unavoidable need to play USC a week earlier every other year and then play a game after that. In an ideal world, Cal is that team every time — well, okay, maybe UNLV or New Mexico State…but within conference at least.

From ten to twelve months out, I can see anywhere from a 9-3 season to an 11-1 season being one that meets expectations.

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Go Bruins.