UCLA Football: After 5 weeks do the Bruins have momentum in L.A.?


It was a big week if you’re a UCLA Football fan. The team across town lost to a conference opponent. The Bruins took down a fellow PAC-12 south team and stopped a two game skid. Is the momentum of Los Angeles firmly with the Bruins?

Momentum is everything when it comes to recruiting. Players want to know “what have you done lately?” or “how strong is your program right now?”. Both questions have been harder to answer lately for the UCLA Football program coming off a 4-8 season in 2016. Coming into 2017 there were doubts as to whether the team across town would lose a game this season and many wondered if the Bruins could even get back to 4-8.

Five weeks into the season we now have a different question. The Trojans lost pieces during the offseason and it seemed to hurt them more than many thought it would. They scrapped together some wins in precarious fashion before their sloppy play and injuries finally caught up with them in a loss to the Washington State Cougars on Saturday. They just haven’t looked like the lock for the College Football Playoff that many pegged them to be.

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The UCLA Football Bruins on the other hand have been something of an emotional roller coaster. QB Josh Rosen has carried the Bruins  essentially solo with his arm. He’s been tearing up defenses and in the process helped showcase some of the impressive receiving talent. His offensive line has been much improved so far but they aren’t an exceptional group just yet. In the backfield the Bruins have started to show signs of life and a commitment to running the football but have yet to see that side of the ball take off.

The defense has been a point of contention for many fans and there are legitimate reasons for that. The run defense has taken steps in the right direction but need to hasten their pace. Tackling has also been a sore subject and the pass defense has been shredded by less than stellar QB play.

Still the Bruins are win away from matching last year’s totals and have a number of winnable games left on the schedule. They showed defensive steps in their win over Colorado especially in their run defense. They’re getting a bye week when they’re a little banged up giving them time to get very healthy on both sides of the ball.

The Trojans on the other hand have plenty of winnable games remaining but don’t have a bye week to get any players back from injury and without a bye game there’s a greater chance of them losing players down the road from fatigue and normal bumps and bruises.

Looking at the scenarios on both sides of town have the UCLA Football Bruins become the hotter of both teams? The Bruins are on the upswing with a week to get healthy and gameplan. Yes they lost one of their hottest receiving options for the year during Saturday’s victory but I believe they can overcome the loss of the stud TE with a committee of talented players.

There are reports that USC QB Sam Darnold could return to school next year and while that could be the decision he had all along, it does beg the question “is Darnold returning because the season has been underwhelming and he hopes to rebound strong next year?”.

Next: UCLA Football: Injury report heading into bye week

Both teams make sure to keep diligent tabs on each other during the season. When one team loses the opposing fan base cheers and vice versa. When your team wins and your biggest rival loses, especially as a favorite, you can’t help but let everyone know. Does that excitement, that exuberance, give one team a little extra fuel in their fire? This writer thinks so.