With UCLA football’s 2018 season over, Go Joe Bruin takes a look at what the Bruins will face next season and project their final record.
We now know what the UCLA football team looks like under Chip Kelly and by the looks of things, they could be a lot better next year.
But what will the 2019 schedule bring? After 2018’s treacherous schedule, among one of the nation’s toughest, the Bruins could only come away with a 3-9 record in Kelly’s first season.
But with things settled after Year 1, what will Year look like? I take a way-too-early look. In the process, I will also project what the Bruins’ results will be like. And to mix things up, I will give a “win”, “loss” or “even” prediction. A win gets one point, even gets half and a loss gets zero. Let us begin.
At Cincinnati, August 31
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As much as I want to say that the Bruins could get the win here or have an even result, the Bearcats surprised a lot of people in 2018, finishing the regular season 10-2. In addition, they went 6-0 at home. Whatever they are doing in Cincinnati is working. Though I think the Bruins have a chance, or will at least keep it close, this might be a loss. LOSS
Vs San Diego State, September 7
SDSU finished 7-5 this season and though they started strong, they ended on a three-game losing streak. They were also 3-3 away from home so going to the Rose Bowl could (and will) prove treacherous for them. WIN
Vs Oklahoma, September 14
Though it will be a noble effort and the Sooners will be without Kyler Murray, the Bruins still have a ways to go before they slay a giant. It will be closer than this year’s contest in Norman, but it will still be an “L”. LOSS
*Quick Note of the Pac-12 Conference Schedule: the dates have not been set, just the opponent and location. This order presented is alphabetical and does not re[resent the conference schedule.
At Arizona, Date TBA
Arizona got better as the 2018 season progressed, but how will they do in Year 2 of the Kevin Sumlin era? Adding in the fact that the Bruins have trouble getting wins in Tucson, this one is a toss-up. EVEN
Vs Arizona State, Date TBA
UCLA almost got the win against ASU in Tempe a few weeks ago. Mistakes prevented them from coming out on top but with an offseason to work on such problems and this game at the Rose Bowl, this one should go to the Bruins. WIN
Vs Cal, Date TBA
Cal is another team that slowly got better as the 2018 season went on. Though they suffered mightily at the hands of the Bruins in Berkeley, they should put up a fight in Pasadena. EVEN
Vs Colorado, Date TBA
The Buffs might have punched the Bruins in the mouth to start the Pac-12 schedule but they eventually got worse and lost their last seven games after winning their first five. Sorry Colorado, but you’re going to be rebuilding and it will not be as quick as UCLA’s. WIN
Vs Oregon State, Date TBA
Oregon State will always Oregon State. This might be even if it was in Corvallis, but it is not. WIN
At Stanford, Date TBA
UCLA gave Stanford a real fight to finish the 2018 season. Though they will do the same in 2019, playing in Palo Alto will make this a lot harder to accomplish. Also, until UCLA can actually beat Stanford, no one should pick UCLA to beat Stanford. LOSS
At USC, Date TBA
This could be a very difficult game or it can be a blow out by the Bruins. USC just finished 5-7, the first time they have had a losing record since 2000. On paper, it seems as if the Trojans are trending downward. If this is true, then fan attendance will be down at the Coliseum which means USC’s home could be overwhelmed with blue. I know my answer. WIN
At Utah, Date TBA
Seeing as how Utah dismantled the Bruins at the Rose Bowl, it might be a safe bet that they do the same in the SLC. I’m not worried about the Bruins’ offense here, it is the defense that gives me pause. Depending on how much they improve next year will determine if they can run with teams like Utah. For now… LOSS
At Washington State, Date TBA
Something tells me the Cougars should easily run away with this game, but I also have a feeling that Kelly and the Bruins will make this interesting. What will also be a factor is when it is played. If this is a late September/early October game, the Bruins could get the win. If it is in November, forget it, all WSU. For that reason, I cannot give a way-too-early projection. EVEN
Adding things up, that gives us 5 wins (5 points), 3 evens (1.5 points) and 4 losses. With that, I project UCLA gets 6.5 wins and 5.5 losses next season. Hey, bowl eligible, its a start.