uclafan11 already has already started the discussion on our first Pac-10 road trip of the season. The game time is set (hopefully it will be a little cooler in the bay area in two weeks for a noon time start). Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on ABC with Terry Gannon (BORING) and David Norrie calling the action. Anyway, I think this upcoming game will present even a bigger opportunity to accelerate the ongoing rebuilding of our football program than the Tennessee game. Let me lay this out a bit more.
Just like Tennessee game, we will most likely be the underdogs heading into the road trip. The way this early Pac-10 season is shaping up right now Stanford is going to be emotionally charged up to face off a "top-25" Washington team (which is in the national spotlight for all the right reason). If Stanford beats up on Washington this upcoming Saturday, they will be the clear cut favorites heading into their UCLA game, and I think that will put Bruins in one of those situations like they were in Knoxville when they didn't face much pressure in terms of expectations and simply go out and have some fun.
Hopefully this time around there will be even more Bruin fans backing up our team. This means if you live in Southland get on the 101 and meanwhile the entire UCLA alumni base from the Bay Area (and Northern California) needs come out in full force to swarm Palo Alto.
Coach Neuheisel for his part is not getting wrapped up in number of wins. He is just thinking about the next game:
"I know this is going to sound very coach cliché and maybe it is, but I was taking it one game at a time. When people asked me before the season, 'I wanted to be in a bowl game.' How to go about getting that, I didn't say which bowl. It's obvious that this conference has a lot of good teams. Rather than worry about how many wins, I think the best way for us to proceed, and coach cliché aside, we have to play our next game."
Here is a quick recap of our series history w/ the Furd:
UCLA owns a 45-31-3 edge in the series with Stanford which dates back to 1925. The Bruins lead the series 19-18-2 in games played at Stanford. The Bruins have won the last five meetings overall, including a 23-20 verdict a year ago in the Rose Bowl. The last series win by the Cardinal came at Stanford (21-14) in the 2003 season. A Kevin Craft scoring pass to Cory Harkey with 10 seconds left gave the Bruins a dramatic victory in game seven of the 2008 season. UCLA trailed 14-6 at the half before Craft connected with Terrence Austin on a two-yard scoring pass to narrow the gap to a single point. A field goal put UCLA ahead 16-14 at the 14:57 mark of the fourth quarter.The Cardinal answered with two field goals to take a 20-16 lead with 2:31 left in the game. The Bruin two-minute drill was capped off by a seven-yard scoring pass from Craft to Harkey. The UCLA defense held Stanford to 51 yards passing on the day. Craft threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
The question lot of people will be wondering is whether Craft will be starting again in two weeks. I am guessing Craft will have to compete in this week and next to hold on to it. I think the odds are in favor that he will hold on to the starting position, unless Brehaut really breaks through during the practices. I also think it is very possible that coaches will work in Brehaut in their game plan, if they think the true freshmen will give them the best chance for the win (within the flow of the game).
In addition to Craft-Brehaut competition at practices, I imagine Viney-Price competition at CB is going to be a little spirited because I am assuming the freshman will not just give up his sport. Plus coaches will have some fun with the running back spot with Knox coming back into the fold and Ramirez getting healthy. Should be fun.
Speaking of fun, let's end with the following quotes from latest UCLA commit Derrick Bryant (emphasis added):
Bryant, who is 6 feet 4, 230 pounds, is ranked the 29th best defensive end by Rivals.com. He made his official visit to UCLA last weekend.
"I just liked everything," Bryant said. "My entire visit, everything I saw, sold me. This is where I was coming hands down. I loved the atmosphere, looking out at the hills around the school, seeing all those houses, the atmosphere, being between Beverly Hills and Bel-Air."
I am assuming Mr. Bryant will be preaching that message relentlessly to his buddies in Ohio and to all the other big time recruits in Midwest. Looks like the coaches have found themselves what appears to be a pretty effective ambassador to champion the Bruin blue and gold in the great Midwest. The world of recruiting we call that opening up a pipeline.