Matthew Smith, aka "Mr. PAC 10," has compiled a nice analysis of the 2005 PAC 10 season on his blog. To nobody's surprize, Matthew shares some of the same concerns that we at BN have (with emphasis added):
I really like what I see from this team... on paper anyway. Until they can go an entire season without blowing at least one easy game, the jury's still out.
vs Oklahoma, vs Arizona St, @ USC:
I should really add the three game stretch of Oregon St, Stanford and Arizona, but I'd already expect them to blow one of those anyway. So focus on the tough teams that the Bruins play instead. The first two they'll definitely have a shot at; at least a split is vital if they want the USC game to mean anything at all. And of course they'll potentially be the last remaining obstacle for USC's run at a perfect regular season, and even if the Trojans lose once before it could still be the difference between getting the Rose Bowl and somewhere else for USC, so you know everyone will be watching.
We agree Matthew. To demonstrate that he is the man to turn the UCLA football program around, Dorrell must prove that he can lead this team through a mostly weak schedule and avoid the embarrassing letdowns that he was not able to avoid in his first two seasons.
Oklahoma is a good place to start. This is a one-dimensional team that has failed to show any signs of an offense outside of Adrian Peterson, and that very nearly lost to a very mediocre (and I'm being generous) Tulsa squad. A closely fought L will not suffice.
Dorrell will not get a better opportunity to win 9 regular season games and lead UCLA to a prominent bowl game than he will this season.
Saturday's performance will tell us a lot.