It's another do-or-die for Jim Mora's UCLA Bruins football squad today - win, and UCLA's slim chances of getting into the conference title game through the back door remain alive - lose, and the Bruins are all but guaranteed a spot at a fourth-tier bowl that would make even Karl Dorrell blush. So far, it's been an underwhelming season and the loss to Utah at the Rose Bowl means the Bruins will need some help from their conference foes to get ahead of Utah and Arizona State in the race for the Pac-12 South division crown. Presumably, the #4-ranked Ducks will take care of the pesky #17-ranked Utah problem for us tonight at 7 p.m. PT (ESPN) but UCLA will need help from either Oregon State, Washington State, or Arizona - if any of the three knock off the #9-ranked Sun Devils, and if the Bruins win out (which is a big if, given how inconsistent we've looked), a trip to Levi's Stadium is in the works.
That's the situation our Bruins find themselves in - not in control of their own destiny and needing to pick up three wins in a row against Washington on the road, and Southern Cal and Stanford at the Rose Bowl - while Arizona State needs to pick up three wins against three of the weaker conference foes they'll see this year. I'm saying there's a chance - but it's slim.
This afternoon, we head on up to Seattle to take on the 6-3 Washington Huskies who have lost to every ranked conference opponent (Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State) so far in Chris Petersen's first season outside of Boise, a trend that our Bruins will desperately need to continue. The Bruins have the superior talent on both sides of the ball - especially with star CB Marcus Peters (a sure-fire first or second round NFL Draft pick) no longer patrolling their defensive secondary - but the Huskies might have the better coaching staff. Ironically, both schools will take on the head coach they wished they had - Petersen reportedly turned down UCLA to stay in Boise, leading to Mora landing the job, while Washington tried very hard to to lure Mora, a Husky alum, back to Seattle, before picking up Petersen.
Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. PT on FS1. If you need to get caught up on our opponent, you can check out dbear737's very good statistical preview of the game, or the previews of the Washington coaching staff and special teams unit, their offense, and the Husky defense. Finally, if you haven't fired up a guess or two in Achilles' pregame guesses thread, you still have a bit of time before kick-off.
Another week, another must win for Jim Mora and the UCLA football team. This is your UCLA at Washington football open thread, so fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, comments, and observations as we tune in to see our Bruins take on Washington in Seattle.