In keeping with what has become a bit of a yearly ritual, I made it to the bookstore today (maybe my only trip to a physical bookstore per year) to pick up this year's Phil Steele's 2008 Collegel Football Preview. As I've said before, Steele is a college football machine, who puts together -- by far -- the most comprehensive pre-season preview on the market.
So, while there are a lot of good reasons to be fired up about UCLA football, Steele's 2008 Pac-10 Forecast also helps put things back in perspective. Steele has the Bruins tied for 6th in the Pac-10, behind USC, Cal , Oregon, Arizona St., Arizona and Oregon St.:
6. UCLA - The Bruins have just 9 returning starters and maybe less than that if OB Ben Olson does not return from an injury suffered in the spring. They do have an inexperienced O-line but were an injury ravaged team last year so they have more experience than you would think. UCLA gets five Pac-10 HG's [home games] but still needs and upset or two to land a bowl bid.
As much as I'd like to, I can't say that I disagree too much. And Steele seems to have zeroed in on our weaknesses, including the OL and DB's, which he's ranked as 9th and 7th in the Pac-10, respectively (our ST's are #1).
I won't say much more. Steele's mag is a must have for stat hounds and reality based football fans. You should buy a copy and read it for youself.
Sorry to be a kill joy. Unfortunately, Neuheisel, Chow and Walker have a lot of work to do. And I'm confident that it will happen. But, I also know that this year will just be the start.