Bruins check in at number 16 according to the research staffers at WWL:
16. UCLA Bruins
Total points: 738
Positives: UCLA has been a top-20 program in the Prestige Rankings since the '50s, including being tied with Florida State for seventh place in the '80s. The Bruins won a national title in 1954. QB Gary Beban won the Heisman Trophy in 1967. Among Pac-10 schools, only USC gets credit for more conference titles than UCLA, which has 15. The Bruins also have never been on probation.
Negatives: UCLA has just one major bowl berth in the BCS era (since 1998) and hasn't won a major bowl game since the 1988 season (Cotton Bowl versus Arkansas). The Bruins also have suffered three losing seasons since 2003. The BCS era has been downright average for the Bruins, as they sit in 34th in that span. They haven't been lower than 20th in any other decade.
Through the decades: Through 1958: 18th | 1968: 17th | 1978: 16th | 1988: 13th | 1998: 13th
Did you know? The Bruins have four wins over top-ranked teams in the AP poll, which is more than programs like Michigan, Alabama and Nebraska can boast. Only six programs have enjoyed more.
Considering our 4-8 record this past season which was a product of almost a decade of listless and/or listless leadership from mediocre head coaches (resulting into one underachieving season after another since 1998-99), this ranking is pretty amazing.
If anything this kind of assessment only helps to validate the big picture vision CRN has been promoting since his arrival in Westwood. Right now we are going through growing pains after years of neglect and mismanagement of this program. Sure we have suffered some setbacks in the recruiting trails in recent days (while also racking up our share of wins) CRN has us in position to put together another top-25 class that will help him set up the long term foundation for this program. He still has work cut out for him as he knows as well as anyone that he needs to bring in more decent talent who can contribute in the trenches. Yet the process will take time.
For those who are still bellaching over some recruiting set backs here and there should look up the recruiting saga of Brockman (UW), Hairston (UO), Leunen, (UO), Thompson (UNC), Stepheson (UNC) to name a few. They all crushed many hearts and led to doubting of Coach Howland. I don't offer up those names to make the point that CRN will turn out to be like CBH (even though just like Howland, CRN has put together a staff featuring coaches such as Chow, Palcic (who recently rebuffed an overture from Tedford to join Cal's staff) with great track record and proven credentials). I only offer those names up as datapoints that it is not shocking for good (to great) coaches to suffer setbacks when they are trying their best to pull the program out of total dumps (and arguably UCLA basketball was in a little better situation than UCLA football given the sheer number of athletes involved in recruiting).
Anyway, despite all the obstacles, it's clear that CRN and his staff have the ammo to make the right pitch to reel in good recruits for one of the most prestigious programs in college football. What they will need is for us to afford them the same patience and benefit of the doubt we gave to Howland and his staff.