The way this game day is shaping up I will stick to my prediction of a comfortable UCLA win. If any of you here is actually concerned about our prospects today, I am telling you right now we are going to win. You have nothing to worry about!
As I have said throughout the week everyone is expecting a UCLA loss today, which would conveniently fit into the narrative of Dorell's roller coaster team. That theme is prevalent in the reports of all the beat writers. And since everyone is expecting a stumble, I think the guys are going to come out with some intensity and emotion, anxious to show how they are determined to avoid another Utah like debacle.
Of course the win will have nothing to do with Dorrell's coaching, but more with players performing in that proverbial "us v. world' scenario that led lot of Lavin teams to a late season run to Steve-16. Only thing those meaningless victories did was delay the inevitable - a total collapse of the program - causing the clueless reporters and fans to get distracted and lose focus on the real problem in the program.
Anyway, with that note lets start with the roundup. Dohn is playing up the roller coaster narrative:
Whether Van's words are rhetoric or ring true will be known today, because Washington State is the typical trip-up game for the Bruins, who have shown vulnerability many times under Dorrell, including losses to Utah and Notre Dame this season.
The Bruins have to be ready to react, rather than recoil, when they get popped in the mouth.
"They are going to hit us in the mouth. I don't know what quarter. I don't know what play. They're going to make some plays, they're going to make a couple of plays, maybe even score a couple of touchdowns. But we have to be able to weather that storm," Van said. "We have to be able to fight and just continue pushing on, playing our style of defense, playing our style of offense, and just slowly but surely chipping away."
The Cougars' offense has been struggling, obviously. But their ability to stretch the field with three and four-receiver sets has posed problems for the Bruins. [...]
Washington State, Bruins' defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said, does not do anything unusual in the way it spreads opposing defenses. UCLA just hasn't reacted well to it.
"At least for me, I know them a little better, schematically, and I think obviously we'll be better prepared to defend them and give our guys a chance to be able to make plays," he said.
Those problems seem to have been ironed out, as the Bruins' defense has handled the last three quarterbacks in its path, including intercepting three Nate Longshore passes in a 30-21 victory over California last week.
Overall, the UCLA defense has improved dramatically the last four weeks, going from 69th nationally in total yards to 26th at 320.9 per game.
But Brink and the relentless Cougars passing attack have been a problem.
"He made all types of throws last season," cornerback Trey Brown said. "He was throwing passes from behind his back, throwing balls while jumping, running, sitting back. He was making plays all over the place."
Still, Horton said, "Last year was last year. I think we're a much-improved defense. He's going to get our best game."
You don't believe me? Just listen to our head coach:
In fact I am sooo not worried that I will consider anything less than a 21+ point victory as a huge let down today. And if anyone here has a problem with that kind of expectation I will refer him or her to our esteemed head coach. I mean he is so confident that he just worried about "getting there." Once his team in Martin Stadium, we can just expect them to roll all over the Cougars. Hey, after all Cowan is almost 100 percent. They have had excellent practices. Defense is prepared and effort is not going to be an issue. All they have to do is just get to the stadium.
So get ready for a comfortable Bruin win.
Game thread will be up later this afternoon.