As we have discussed previously we are not going to put a specific number on expected wins for next season yet. But as gbruin noted in January despite a more challenging schedule in 2013, every game appears winnable for the Bruins. Respected national college football analysts such as Bruce Feldman agrees with our main point that heading into next season "UCLA should be better in 2013" despite a more difficult schedule.
At the end of spring football it now appears that Jack Wang from "Inside UCLA" is also on board. Here is his response to a question regarding "realistic expectations" next season (emphasis added throughout):
I think double-digit wins and another Pac-12 South title are both very much attainable. I'll wait and see how the running back committee and offensive line develop before picking UCLA for the Rose Bowl though. The secondary could be noticeably better than it was last season, if the freshmen are as good as expected and guys like Anthony Jefferson and Ishmael Adams can build on what they showed in spring.
Funny thing is as noted in their post spring-show case comments Jim Mora and Brett Hundley agree with all of this as well:
Now, as second-year coach Jim Mora said, the challenge for Hundley and the entire UCLA team is to meet the rising expectations that are coming.
"I think it adds pressure to you and I think Brett can handle it," Mora said after waiting out a postgame fireworks display.
"People pat them on the back and say `Great year, great year,' and there is not one of them that thinks nine wins was a great year. None of them are satisfied, and I like that, and that's what we want."
Hundley certainly looked the part, completing 16 of 23 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
"I feel so much better and so much more developed along with this team, this offense, every aspect of this team," Hundley said. "I feel like we are much further than we were last spring."
Hey, we are in total agreement with Mora (and Hundley) here. While the team met our minimum reasonable expectations this past season, none of us on the frontpage thought it was an amazing season, especially after the Bruins ended the season on a three game losing streak and lost two games in which Mora and his staff were badly outcoached by their opponents with inferior talent.
If Mora and co. truly want to match the hype of this off-season, the will need to step up and go beyond meeting the reasonable expectations from last season. As I said above, we are not going to put a number on how many wins we expect next season. We will see whether we come to a consensus here on a specific number this off-season. Maybe we will, may we won't. At the very least we will keep up with our weekly eye-tests because they will give us a good measure on how the team is performing week to week and compare those grades from Mora's first season.
But it's clear that expecting next year's team to perform better than what Mora's program produced on the field in his first season is more than reasonable. This could very well mean a double digit winning season which must include a convincing victory of Hello Kiffin's Southern Cal.