Looking at the what could have been with the UCLA Football team, if Josh Rosen was healthy for the entire season, I give the argument why the Bruins would have gone 10-4.
Let us say, that during the sixth UCLA Football game of 2016, quarterback Josh Rosen did not get hurt. To add to the fantasy, let us also say that right tackle Kolton Miller was also healthy for the duration of the season. If that was the case, the Bruins would have finished the regular season 9-3, and gone 10-4 overall.
Before you send sticks and stones-esque messages to me, hear me out.
During that sixth game, the Bruins were struggling with Arizona State. At halftime it was 3-3, but things were heating up.
After twice being knocked out of the game, Rosen was replaced by Mike Fafaul. All 3 of Fafaul’s solo drives ended in a three-and-out or a turnover. In Rosen’s five drives after the half, the Bruins scored on three of them. The Bruins lost that game 23-20, but if Rosen was not knocked out of that game against ASU, UCLA would have had a few more scores and claim a victory to go 4-2 through half of their season.
But the Ws would not stop there.
Next on the list would be at Washington State, vs Utah, at Colorado, vs Oregon State, vs USC and at Cal. Since I am arguing for a 9-3 regular season record, that means UCLA would go 5-1 through their last six regular season games. You seem stunned.
The Bruins had several chances to pounce on the Cougars in 2016, but Fafaul just could not get it done. There is no doubt in my mind that if Rosen was not injured, he would have given the Bruins another win and a 5-2 record.
The game against Utah was a shoot out, and though I believe in Rosen, I do not believe he and the Bruins could have survived the 322 rushing yards by Joe Williams. Fafaul did a bang up job with Rosen-esque numbers (464 yards, 5 touchdowns), so I do not believe the Chosen One would have done any better.
After a wake up call of going 3-2 in conference (5-3 overall) the Bruins now take control of their destiny and rattle off four straight victories. Yes, even against USC. But I will get to that.
Against Colorado, the Bruins were leading 10-7 at the half. They lost 20-10. That would not have happened on Rosen’s watch. UCLA goes 6-3. In the next game, UCLA beat Oregon State 38-24. The Bruins would have won 52-24 with Rosen.
That brings us to USC. The Bruins, without Rosen, lost 36-14. UCLA was running on all cylinders in the first quarter, but quickly lost their chutzpah. Rosen would have had the Bruins running as efficiently as they could with an offensive line that would have been decent. Though not great, they would have done a lot better with Miller. UCLA wins 35-33.
With the momentum of an 8-3 record with them, the Rosen-led Bruins march into Memorial Stadium in Berkeley and beat Cal 36-10, instead of the other way around. The Bruins finish the regular season 9-3, and since they control the tie-breakers against Colorado and USC, they win the South Division.
Though they fall to Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game (barely), the Bruins head to the Rose Bowl where they face a tough Penn State team that trails the entire game against the Bruins. UCLA finishes 10-4. The moral of the story: Josh Rosen is that important. You think I’m playin’? *End fantasy transmission now*