It's been a long two weeks for UCLA football fans. Two huge games, two chances to prove that UCLA had arrived back among college football's elite, and two demoralizing losses later, UCLA returns home to the Rose Bowl against Colorado. This game could not be more different than last week's: instead of facing Marcus Mariota and the high-flying #2-ranked Oregon Ducks' offense at Autzen Stadium, the Bruins get true freshman QB Sefo Liufau (a mid-season replacement for displaced starter Connor Wood) and Colorado's struggling offensive unit.
So, let's get to the game: kick-off is set for 4:30 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl, so if you're in the greater Los Angeles area, you have no excuse not to be there on what is expected to be a sunny (76 to 79 degrees) afternoon in Pasadena. For those of you unable to make it down to the ol' Arroyo Seco, the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
And let's take a look at the bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse as we get ready for what is hopefully a huge bounce-back blowout victory over Colorado:
- Beginning with the game itself, the Washington Post has a preview capsule of the game up, calling the battle between Colorado LT Jack Harris and our own DE Cassius Marsh as the key matchup of the game, as defensive pressure on the Liufau, a true freshman, will be key in shutting down Colorado's offense (which relies on getting the ball to former Bruin WR Paul Richardson).
- In case you missed it, ESPN has a pretty good Q&A with our very own Ishmael Adams on the eve of today's game against Colorado, with the sophomore cornerback saying all of the right things and sounding focused on matching up against Paul Richardson and the Buffalos' wide receiver corps.
- You know who else says we should blow out Colorado? All of the oddsmakers, with the line running between 26 and 28 points for UCLA, depending on where you look. So yeah, if the books are saying we should win big, there's no excuse for Mazzone not to have our offense putting up huge numbers against a very mediocre defense.
- Speaking of Mazzone, Berkeley alum Jack Wang took note of the increasing criticism our offensive coordinator has been facing in the wake of two very disappointing offensive efforts in games against Stanford and Oregon that were made winnable by insanely outstanding play by Lou Spanos' defense. Let's see if Mazzone finally opens the playbook back up and figures out how not to run the same predictable offense that got him figured out during his time at Arizona State.
- Our friends at The Ralphie Report, Colorado's SBN site, have a game preview of the game available here, where you can check out the Buffalo perspective on today's battle between two formerly elite programs.
- Oh, and just in case you didn't notice, with Southern Cal's win over Oregon State in Corvallis, Coach Ed Orgeron is undefeated in Pac-12 conference play., with his only loss coming in a close one to Notre Dame in South Bend. Kind of hard to understand why Pat Haden hasn't removed the interim label yet, given that "Coach O" has the Trojans heading back in the right direction.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for this game day morning. This is your open thread for all of the college football action out there this morning. Stay tuned for the game thread, which should go live shortly before kick-off at the Rose Bowl. Fire away with your takes, thoughts, etc. in the open thread.
Let's get it done today.