Bruin Bites: "West Coast Power" UCLA Called "Contender" for College Football Playoff, Assistants Get Pay Raise, Luke Gane for Oscar

UCLA Spring Sing / UCLA Alumni Association

It's a summer Saturday morning in Southern California, which means the weather is nice, the sun is out, and life is pretty good. Except there's no college football, which sucks. But, during the off-season, the hype and buzz around UCLA football is continuing to grow as the Bruins look to put together a national championship contending season.

It's a beautiful Saturday morning on this three-day holiday weekend, but without football to keep us entertained today, and with our baseball team playing in its final games of a lost, no postseason, season, we turn our thoughts to the fall and the buzz surrounding Jim Mora and the football team, which is gaining a lot of traction as a contender to make the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.  So, let's take a look at the bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:

--- Starting with the playoff, ESPN has an extensive piece on the new College Football Playoff system and how it looks to shape up this fall.  WWL began their look at the new system by projecting who is likely to make it in from the top sixteen teams in college football, a sixteen that includes our very own Bruins.  While the ESPN "experts" don't think UCLA will make it into the field of four, they do key in on two areas that could lead the Bruins all the way to the title: the return of superman Myles Jack and the development, growth, and improvement of our offensive line under Mora, Klemm, and S&C coach Sal Alosi.

--- ESPN isn't alone in expecting the Bruins to be a series player this season, with Sports Illustrated calling the Bruins a "new West Coast power" in their list of things they're looking forward to this season:

In the fall of 2012, USC was ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP Poll, while UCLA — which was then entering Mora’s debut campaign — was largely written off. What a difference two years makes. This summer the Trojans are adjusting to a new coaching staff, while the Bruins have the look of a legitimate national title threat. Two-way star Myles Jack is back. So is most of the offensive line. With the return of a Heisman hopeful (and campus enforcer) in Hundley, how high can UCLA climb?

--- In case you missed it, UCLA is showing some financial muscle and finally, thanks to Jim Mora, showing it is ready to play with the big boys of college football, giving contract extensions and pay raises the football coaching staff; in total going up to $4.059 million this upcoming season from $2.442 million last season, plus with seven out of nine coaches returning from last year, Mora will have continuity on his staff as he looks to push UCLA into not only the Pac-12 crown, but the first college football playoff.

--- Finally, the Los Angeles Times took note of the growing viral hit of Brett Hundley: Campus Enforcer, noting that the real star was hype-man Luke Gane, who previously took a starring role as the Joker in the team's freshman talent show with photo-bomb star Jerry Neuheisel.

Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse as we roll on through another beautiful Saturday in Southern California, counting down the days until UCLA football returns to make a run at the Pac-12 crown and the College Football Playoff.

GO BRUINS

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