Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Usually on Saturday mornings, this special edition of the gameday Bruin Bites gets started on Friday with the Bruins taking on Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game. So this is your wee-bit early round-up of the various bits and pieces from around the UCLA-iverse, while providing an open thread for pre-game thoughts on tonight's fight for the Rose Bowl.
It's Friday, so while most of us are winding down our work week, Coach Mora and our Bruins will be gearing up for tonight's Pac-12 title game. On the line is not just the conference crown but the accompanying spot in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Last week, the Bruins came out flat against a powerful Stanford squad, that punished the Bruins on the ground and hit UCLA's vaunted offense in the mouth.
While there were accusations that Mora intentionally held back in last week's matchup, all of that doesn't matter now: we expect, with six days to prepare, watch film, and make adjustments, that Jim Mora and his staff (which have done an excellent job in their first season) will have our Bruins in a position to win what is going to be an ugly, rain-soaked game in a hostile environment in Palo Alto. If you're going to tonight's game (kick-off at 5 p.m. PT), bring your rain gear: the forecast in Palo Alto calls for rain throughout the evening. If you're watching from home, you'll catch the nationally televised action on Fox.
With that out of the way, let's turn to the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- The weather will obviously be the X factor in tonight's game, and it is the main focus of Ted Miller at WWL's preview of how tonight's game could turn out. Interesting fact that Miller pulled from Elias Sports Bureau: no Division I-A schools have ever played one another twice within a one week period. So, tonight we'll be setting a first.
- SBN's Bill Connelly previewed tonight's game, noting that one of the most interesting statistical aberrations from last week's game in Pasadena was that Brett Hundley, known for his mobility and ability to scramble for extra yardage if a play breaks down, only rushed once. Connelly walks through some other key areas for tonight's game, giving the Cardinal the edge, but won't be surprised if the Bruins come away with a win, especially if UCLA starts strong and gains confidence and momentum.
- In the AP's preview for tonight's game, Antonio Gonzalez titles tonight's rematch a mind game, with both coaching staffs trying to figure out how to adjust or adjust to the expected adjustments of their opponent. With both teams having literally just played one another, Gonzalez noted some of the more interesting end results of the short turnaround, such as the need to get video production from last week's game out quickly for the coaching staffs to start viewing film immediately.
- The Daily News' Mike Waldner might be one of the very few people giving UCLA a realistic shot to win tonight's rematch against the Cardinal, using Tommy Prothro's win over Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl (following a 13-3 loss to Michigan State on the first game of the 1965 season) as the perfect example of when UCLA has pulled off the same kind of turnaround that fans of the Blue and Gold are hoping for tonight.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to get this Friday morning started. Fire away with your thoughts, comments, etc. in the open thread below.