Remember all of that hype about an undefeated UCLA team breaking into the top-10, heading up to face the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto, gearing up to finally get over that big red Cardinal hurdle that had kept them from the conference title and the Rose Bowl the year before?
Well, the Bruins went out and got #Mazzoned for two weeks in a row. Another game against an elite opponent and Jim Mora and Noel Mazzone came out with a bland, vanilla offense that did nothing to support Lou Spanos' defense, which has played absolutely out-of-their-minds for the last two weeks, slowing down both the power-running smash mouth Stanford Cardinal offense and the up-tempo, high-flying Oregon Ducks offensive machine. But, as often happens in football, when your defense spends too much time on the field due to your offensive ineptness, eventually fatigue and injury sets in and the points start to pour in. The final score really wasn't fair to a defensive unit that held the Ducks to just 21 points through three quarters (this being a unit that was putting up 57.6 points per game until last night's game) without getting any offensive support from Noel Mazzone's boring, predictable, let's-throw-a-screen-every-other-play-and-ignore-the-vertical-passing-game offense.
Another week of being #Mazzoned. So, with the two losses in a row, the Bruins continue to free-fall in both major polls, dropping to #17 in the AP Poll and #19 in the USA Today/Coaches' Poll. Given the Bruins' continued offensive regression, that seems generous (don't forget the #Mazzoned effort from the week before against Cal's garbage defense in the Rose Bowl).
Well, in any event, here is the USA Today/Coaches' Poll, courtesy of the mothership at SBN:
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK||CHANGE||HI/LOW|
|3||Florida State (2)||7-0||1,390||3|
|Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame 132, Georgia 24, Texas 22, Brigham Young 22, Mississippi 21, Virginia Tech 20, Oregon State 17, Florida 14, Washington 6, Minnesota 4, Ball State 4, Duke 2, Arizona 2|
The end of last season left a sour taste in a lot of Bruins' mouths and Jim Mora's program collapsed down the stretch, when it mattered the most, finishing the year on a three-game losing streak (Stanford twice, followed by a blowout at the hands of Baylor).
How will Mora and his staff respond to the current two game losing streak? Are the Bruins mentally strong enough to bounce back and win-out the season, grab a third-straight Pac-12 South crown and take on the Ducks or Cardinal in the title game and actually win the damn thing?
Or will UCLA sleep-walk through the rest of the season, finish 8-4 or 7-5, putting just another mediocre season of UCLA football in the books with another trip to the Who Gives a F**k Bowl?
I guess we'll have to wait and see.