Questions About UCLA's Out of Conference Scheduling ...

Bumped. - BN Eds.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I do get a chuckle or 2 out of the hapless patsies that the Alabamas and Nebraskas of the world schedule early in the season. And I do proudly trot out the fact that UCLA is one of only 2 FBS schools to have never scheduled a FCS school pretty much every chance I get (never mind who that other one is) . But I was thinking tonight, after losing to a solid Houston team on the road in the season opener, a year after losing to a decent K State squad on the road in the opener - why do we put ourselves in this position in the first place?

Why go into a season with new players at key positions - and in this case, new coordinators - without a dry run? I'm of the opinion that we might have beaten K-State last season and Houston today if we had scheduled them in game 2 after a more favorable game 1. Obviously, there's no way to prove this kind of woulda, coulda, shoulda hypothetical, but I'll lay out some data and let you decide.

After the jump are the results from the first 3 games of each season going back, rather arbitrarily, to 1996 - my first year at UCLA:

1996 (5-6)
Loss at Tennessee 20-35
Win vs. Lousiana–Monroe 44-0
Loss at Michigan 9-38

1997 (10-2)
Loss at WSU 34-37
Loss vs Tennessee
Win at Texas 66-0

1998 (10-2)
Win vs Texas 49-31
Win at Houston 42-24
Win vs WSU 49-17

1999 (4-7)
Win vs Boise St 38-7
Loss at Ohio St. 20-42
Win vs Fresno At 35-21

2000 (6-6)
Win vs Alabama 35-24
Win vs Fresno St 24-21
Win vs. Michigan 23-20

2001 (7-4)
Win at Kansas 41-17
Win at Alabama 20-17
Win vs Ohio St 13-6

2002 (8-5)
Win vs Colorado St 30-19
Win at Oklahoma St 38-24
Loss vs Colorado 17-31

2003 (6-7)
Loss at Colorado 14-16
Win vs. Illinois 6-3
Loss at Oklahoma 24-59

2004 (6-6)
Loss vs Oklahoma St 20-31
Win at Illinois 35-17
Win at Washington 37-31

2005 (10-2)
Win at SDSU 44-21
Win vs Rice 63-21
Win vs Oklahoma 41-24

2006 (7-6)
Win vs Utah 31-10
Win vs Rice 26-16
Loss at Washington 19-29

2007 (6-7)
Win at Stanford 45-17
Win vs BYU 27-17
Loss at Utah 6-44

2008 (4-8)
Win vs Tennessee 27-24
Loss at BYU 0-59
Loss vs Arizona 10-31

2009 (7-6)
Win vs SDSU 33-14
Win at Tennessee 19-15
Win vs K State 23-9

2010 (4-8)
Loss at K State 22-31
Loss vs Stanford 0-35
Win vs Houston 31-13

Here are a few observations:

1) UCLA is pretty damn respectable out of conference, winning 30 out of the 45 games above (with the caveat that some of the teams shown are Pac-10). Over the past 15 yrs we have beaten the likes of Alabama (x2), Oklahoma, Ohio St, Oklahoma St., Texas (x3), Michigan, etc. Not that this is surprising, and I will grant you we caught some of these teams on down years, but it felt pretty dang nice to take that walk down memory lane - and put it in writing.

2) We had a winning season 6 out of the 8 times (75%) when we won the first game. We had a losing season 4 out of the 5 times (80%) when we lost the first game. There were 2 seasons we went 6-6 and they were split. Granted, this is biased, as the probability of winning any particular game within a season is always higher in a winning season, but there is a correlation there.

3) When we have won the 1st game, we have won the 2nd game 8 out of 10 times (80%). When we have lost the first game, we have lost the second game 2 out of 5 times (40%). Importantly, the 3 wins in the latter case came against Lousiana-Monroe, and Illinois twice.

I'll admit, I owe some of my best times at the Rose Bowl to the decisions to schedule Texas in '98 and 'Bama in '00. But there's a reason some of the top programs in the nation schedule the way they do. And it's all the more important when your team in a continual state of flux. As you know, these decisions are made several years ahead of time, but is there ever a bad time to deal someone a 56-3 beatdown? There's plenty of meat on them schedules without a tough opener - and all the more meat after Oklahoma and Texas come crawling back for an invitation.

Just my 2 cents.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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