It's Saturday and the Bruins are going to be in action tonight against the disappointing Washington State Cougars who have not gotten the kind of instant turn-around from new coach Mike Leach that Arizona, UCLA, and Arizona State have enjoyed under their first year head coaches. While the Cougars are the weaker team on paper, tonight's game feels like the classic trap game for UCLA: on the road in Pullman (which is always hard to win at), against a much weaker team, a week before taking on hated U$C for the Pac-12 South crown. So, once again, Jim Mora will have a big test: can he keep his high-flying Bruins focused on the task at hand, or will UCLA once again succumb to the typical collapse on the road that we've sadly become accustomed to during Chianti Dan's decade of mediocrity.
With that, let's turn to the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Beginning with the question of focus, Jim Mora and Brett Hundley have good thoughts on that, as posted in a recent AP news-wire story that got featured at Yahoo! Sports. While Washington State is falling apart though, some of their key on-the-field leaders, such as QB Jeff Tuel, are starting to take a more vocal role, so don't expect the Cougars to roll over for UCLA.
- Naturally, since it's a November game in Pullman, the weather will be an issue, with temperatures expected to be at or near freezing, and a high probability of there being snow when the Bruins take the field. While a few Bruins still remain from the 2009 squad that beat Temple in similarly frigid conditions at the Eagle Bank Bowl in D.C., the Bruins will have to be especially mindful of the frost when it comes to execution and ball security.
- To no surprise, both Johnathan Franklin and Jeff Locke are on the short-list for big end-of-the-season awards: the Mayor has been named a semi-finalist for the Doak Walker Award (best RB award), while Locke is a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award (best punter).
- With Mike Leach in charge, look for the Cougars to deploy a variation of the various pass-happy, spread-oriented air-raid style offenses that Leach made popular during his time at Texas Tech (which was well after Craig James was rumored to have killed five hookers at SMU), which will put strain on UCLA's much-maligned secondary. The Toast Twins turned in a better game against Arizona, but will once again need to step up to stifle the Cougars.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to get this Saturday morning of college football started. Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2, and we will have our usual set of game threads up for the game. For now, this will be our morning college football open thread. Get fired up and fire away with your thoughts, comments, etc. in the open thread below.