The UCLA football team will have another rigorous schedule to navigate this season, but how will they do in each of the three months (four, really) they play?
We have already looked at the UCLA football schedule as a whole. We have already looked at what the home schedule looks like. We have even examined the daunting road slate. Now we look at which of the three months that the Bruins play in will be the most difficult.
This fall, UCLA will take part in the second year of the Chip Kelly era. Though many expect the Bruins will make a significant step forward, they are going to have to once again navigate through a string of tough games.
UCLA Football Games by Month
- August/September: at Cincinnati, vs. San Diego State, vs. Oklahoma, at WSU, at Arizona
- October: vs. Oregon State, at Stanford, at Arizona State
- November: vs. Colorado, at Utah, at USC, vs. California
At first glance, you might say that August/September will be the toughest month and you would be right. For the sake of simplicity, I have combined August and September because there is only one game in August and it is only three days away from September, so might as well..
With that in mind, UCLA is going to have a tough opening month. Not only will they have five games to power through, but their opponents have a combined record of 46-19. In addition, the Bruins will be halfway through their schedule by the start of the second full month, meaning that they would have played a lot of football against a lot of good teams in a short amount of time.
October becomes much easier for several reasons. Not only do the Bruins have three games this month (thank you bye week!), but they have two games against teams that are not expected to do much this season. Sure, they also have Stanford but knowing that the three October opponents combined to go 18-20 last season means that this month will be easier on the body and the brain. With less on their plate, the Bruins will have time to breathe and recuperate.
Things get a bit more complicated in November, but nothing like August/September. The Bruins have four opponents, but once again, they potentially only have one challenging game, Utah. Though the other three teams might improve from last season, it says a lot that the four November opponents combined for a 26-25 record in 2018.
The point of all of this is to show that UCLA has to come into the season ready to play. Though one might expect more growing pains from the start of the season to the end, like we saw in 2018, but it is apparent from this month by month analysis that UCLA has to be more successful earlier in the season if they want to have an overall better season than last year. .
After a year of implementing his system, Kelly should be able to enter this season with more confidence than he did last season. His team knows the philosophy, he has the players he wants to run it and there has had a lot of positive steps in development. That will have the Bruins a lot more prepared to take on one of the toughest schedule in the nation. Again.