Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
No, I don't mean from the after party, the emotional hangover after a big win(s). Let's look at recent history: Shown in chronological order (week by week)
- 2009: 3-0 Start, L @ Stanford
- 2008: "Signature" Win vs. Tennessee, L 59-0 @ BYU
- 2007: 2-0 Start, ranked 11th in the Country, L 44-6 @ Utah
- 2006: 2-0 Start, L @ Washington; W 13-9 vs. USC, L in Emerald Bowl
- 2005: 8-0 Start, L 52-14 @ Arizona
- 2004: 4-1 Start, L 45-28 @ Cal
- 2003: 5 Game winning streak with a 6-2 start, L 21-14 @ Stanford
- 2002: 2 Game winning steak, L @ Colorado, 2 game winning streak, L vs. Oregon
- 2001: 6-0 Start, L 38-28 @ Stanford (Turned into a 4 game losing skid to end the season)
- 2000: 3-0 Start, L 10-29 @ Oregon
- 1999: 4-7 Season
- 1998: (Sigh) 10-0 Start, L 49-45 @ Miami
- 1997: No hangover. (W 66-3 @ Texas)
As you can see UCLA does not do good with big, emotional wins, followed by away games. In fact, it has been almost inevitable for UCLA to lose those games.
Luckily, UCLA is not playing on the road, and is not playing a more talented team. (Wow, could you imagine if UCLA played in Pullman this week?)
When I played, aside from one, magical year, I was rarely on the team that needed to avoid the "let-down" game. But that one year, I remember one thing. A good team doesn't avoid the loss, it tries to improve on last week's win.
For UCLA to win this game, all they have to do is play their game. Unfortunately, this is a relatively new thing for the Bruins; if they play their game, they are a very, very good team. If they aren't on their game, UCLA's lack of dimension and equality in their offensive arsenal can make them a very, very poor team.
Offensive thoughts after the jump.
UCLA is currently at an extreme in their modern history (Sub 100 yard games in the passing department means it is at an extreme). And extreme teams (see Texas Tech & Georgia Tech/Navy) have very, very efficient offensive on most days, but very, very poor days on others. Texas Tech occasionally runs into a team with unbelievable speed, and sometimes Georgia Tech occasionally run into a more physical team.
The difference for those teams (when the defense can compete on the same level as the offense) is actually the line between being a National Championship team, and a Conference Championship team. Texas Tech will never be in the National Championship, and neither will Georgia Tech with their offensive schemes, because they will almost never be undefeated... however, they will always win at least 8 games.
Now, in my opinion, I would be fine with a Rose Bowl/PAC 12 Championship Game every year, but if UCLA's offense can be balanced between the excellent running game, and a respectable passing game, UCLA will be able to compete on that level (especially with the youth on defense) sooner, rather than later. I'm not saying we're going to compete for a national championship in 3 years, I am saying UCLA has a shot at being in one of those tie-breaking situations with USC, alright, maybe not USC, but with the Oregon and Arizona schools to compete for the Rose Bowl or PAC 12 Championship game.
In other words, balance is key. And balance will get your team to the next level, but if UCLA is running the ball like they did last week, and their defense is flying around like they were last week, UCLA can win a lot of games (8) this year, and bridge that success into next year.