6/6 Blog - Analyzing UCLA's Schedule

Posted Jun 6, 2010

CFN Blog - Analyzing and breaking down the UCLA schedule

By Aarik Woods

The 2010 UCLA Football Schedule

Last year, the Bruins had the luxury of facing all three out of conference opponents before starting the conference season. 2010 brings a youthful UCLA roster a much different slate.

@ Kansas State- Last season was a 23-9 affair. This season the Bruins will make good on a home and home series with Bill Snyder (yes, he is coaching there, AGAIN) by visiting Manhattan. 13-9 after three quarters, UCLA used a big throw from replacement quarterback Kevin Craft to Terrence Austin to seal the deal. Neither of those players will be there this time around. However, I look for improvement from sophomore Kevin Prince at quarterback, the first string when healthy last season. While it is a road game, I like UCLA's special teams to help them out once again. Kai Forbath's 3 field goals last year would have tied Kansas State, and he returns. WIN

Vs. Stanford- Last year, the Bruins had a bye week and still couldn't stop Heisman contender Toby Gerhardt up in Palo Alto. However, this year the game is in Los Angeles, and there won't be any Toby Gerhardt. UCLA was within a touchdown and two-point conversion, but were down 24-6 until the 4th quarter. Kevin Craft was the quarterback in this game as well, and although he threw for a few more yards, it was negated by the horrendous 95 yards on the ground the Bruins managed. Throughout the entire game! Assuming the running game gets better with multiple returning linemen and some all-star running back recruits, I see an ESPN televised Bruin victory. WIN

Vs. Houston- Despite the fact that leading rusher Charles Sims has recently been ruled ineligible this season, Houston has plenty of firepower. Their second leading rusher (yes, they do run on occasion) still managed more yards than the leading UCLA tailback. Plus, the Cougars have three 1,000 yard receivers all coming back and Case Keenum threw 44 touchdowns last year. Minus Rahim Moore, the Bruins secondary is awfully green. Even though Houston hails from Conference USA and will be on the road, they walk away victorious. LOSS

@ Texas-Yes, Colt McCoy and others have left the national championship game team from a year ago. Are the Bruins so improved that they go on the road and stun the Texas Longhorns? Well, Mack Brown is still the coach and I'm pretty sure there is a fair amount of returning talent in place. Sorry, but the Bruins don't have a great run this year versus Texas teams. Maybe next year will be better for UCLA against teams from the lone star state. LOSS

Vs. Washington State-So UCLA is .500. At least you know with Washington State coming to Los Angeles that the bruins will get a confidence boost and an easy win. That's the result of playing Washington State. Far and away the worst team in the Pac-10 and perhaps in any big six conference, this Cougars squad might lose 9 out of 10 against the Cougars from Houston. WIN

@ California- Jahvid Best is gone, but that only means Shane Vereen gets more carries. Bruin fans will remember Vereen, who averaged a staggering 9.1 yards per carry against them last year. He had more rush yards than the entire Bruins team. Plus, the Bruins lose a big hunk of the defensive front from last year, including 2nd round NFL Draft pick Brian Price at defensive tackle. At least a bye week will be waiting afterwards. LOSS

@ Oregon-UCLA lost this one last year off of a kick return for a touchdown and an interception return within minutes of each other after halftime. Neither team looked impressive offensively. However, the Bruins managing just 66 net rushing yards takes the cake for most pathetic offensive stat of the game. This time, the game is on primetime television in front of the rowdy Oregon faithful. Nate Costa was the starter last year, and with Jeremiah Masoli being suspended for the season, Oregon will again use Costa. No problem, because if running back LaMichael James averages close to 7.6 yards per carry again the Bruins will be two ahead in the loss column. LOSS

Vs. Arizona- Wasn't the pathetic stat of the last game the fact that UCLA managed just 66 yards rushing the entire game? Oh yeah, it was. Well, last year against the Wildcats, UCLA managed 65 net yards rushing. Nick Foles in back behind center for Arizona, pretty much a guarantee that UCLA will lose the passing yards battle once again. However, the Bruins intercepted Foles three times last season, and it was on the road. A nine day layover after Oregon, plus the game is at home. UCLA needs this to make a run at bowl eligibility, and they find a way to pull it off. WIN

@ Oregon State- No turnovers and a balanced passing attack by both teams? Now this looks like high quality Pac-10 football. Unfortunately, UCLA netted just 51 yards on the ground against the Beavers last year. If it sounds like its getting repetitive mentioning UCLA not being able to run the ball, then I guess you could call that the story of their season last year. Sean Canfield graduates for Oregon State, so a new quarterback will be entering the ring. Worth mentioning is the special teams showdown between UCLA's Kai Forbath and Oregon State's Justin Kahut, probably the two best kickers in the Pac-10 this coming season. If healthy, look for the Bruins to push their way back to .500. WIN

@ Washington-Call me crazy, but UCLA looked GOOD in this game last year. The rushing game got close to 100 yards, which is almost miraculous. Kevin Prince was slinging the ball well until he was injured. If he slides more this year and stays healthy, the bruins can hold serve again. However, the Huskies will be at home. Everyone's golden child at quarterback this year, Jake Locker, will be behind center with another year under Steve Sarkisian. With Chris Polk returning as well at running back, the Huskies win what should be a great showing of young talents in conference. LOSS

@ Arizona State- UCLA ran for more yards than the opponent? Perhaps that's because Arizona State had six turnovers in the game! Be that as it may, Kai Forbath made kicks, and UCLA's offense did enough managing of the game without having any turnovers themselves and wound up with a win. I don't see enough change coming in Arizona State this year to result in a win, even if the game is at home for them. WIN

Vs. Southern California- UCLA is now officially bowl eligible at 6-5. It was a very intense and close rivalry game last season between the two Los Angeles schools. UCLA quit playing defense, and USC took it to them on a play action late in the game and nearly began an on-the-field riot. One of my favorite mantras of all time is this: If you don't want the other team to score, stop them. If they kneel down and you have a couple defensive backs deep, oh well. Moving on, this game is home for UCLA. Coach Neuheisel beat Coach Kiffin last year on the road in SEC country. Until I see Lane Kiffin win more games than his salary would have you believe he is worth, I am going with UCLA in another classic USC-UCLA battle. WIN

UCLA is 7-5 on the year. It's a one game improvement over last year. While typically people look for marked improvement in a coach's third year, I think this actually is exactly that. The schedule is tough, the out of conference is much tougher, and there is still a redshirt sophomore running the show behind a middle of the road offensive line. If the team can stay somewhat healthy and the record reflects their improvement, look for UCLA to be the trendy pick to climb into the top 25 in 2011.