Last season I was off one game in the Bruins won/loss record having predicted a 7-5 finish. 6-6 got Mora fired and we wish him the best moving forward. This year I’m feeling a bit more optimistic about the Bruin season despite not having a returning starting QB in the mix and huge questions about or Offensive and Defensive lines; but that’s what a coach of Kelly’s caliber will do for a program.
W v.s. Cincinnati 9/1
UCLA’s offense, what ever Kelly plugs in, will be a little rough around the edges with it’s timing and execution due to it being the first game out the gate. Remember this will be the third different offense in as many years for the upperclassman.
Couple that with the fact that most road teams in the first game of the season always play with a high degree of energy, remember A&M last year? The game could be closer than most people predict.
It would behoove the Bruins to jump on the Bearcats as early as possible! The Bruins should win this game in the end and start the season 1-0.
L @ Oklahoma 9/8/18
Tough opening road game for a young team against a seasoned squad in a different time zone; is that stating the obvious here? If that’s not bad enough the Bruins catch some more bad luck with the 10:00 AM start time to boot!
For this game the Bruins need to channel CBB’s Villanova v. Georgetown, CFB’s Boston College v. Miami, Douglas v.Tyson, the 1988 Dodgers v. A’s, or Ali v. Foreman.
A moral victory can be achieved if they can simply keep the game close. I know that sounds like a defeatist attitude but it is steeped in reality. An unlikely win here would officially throw CFB and Bruin Nation into Chip Kelly Mania.
Ok, I’m back!
Bruins will be 1-1 after two games, but you never know!
W v.s. Fresno State 9/15/18
Fresno State was 10-4 last season and came in first in the Mountain West (west) Division. They were 15th in overall defense (11th vs the run allowing 113.4 ypg) in CFB last season. That stat is concerning given the fact running the ball has not been the Bruin strong suit lately!
The Bulldogs should come in 2-0 and feeling very good about themselves after wins against Idaho and Minnesota!
But if the Bruins aren’t too beat up physically and can bounce back mentally after the Sooner loss they should handle the Bulldogs at home. Should be a fun game.
The offense should be starting to settle in by this point of the season and the defense should have its personnel and coverage identities sorted out.
Bruins 2-1 sounds about right at this juncture in the season.
Bye Week 9/22/18
Great time for a bye after their three non conference games and just before Pac 12 Conference play begins; nice!
This period of time will allow for personnel changes, scheme tweaks, and implementation of new offensive plays and defensive coverages specifically meant for Pac 12 play. The bye will no doubt help the Bruins heading up to play a tough Colorado Squad!
W @ Colorado 9/28/18
Last year’s hard fought home win against the Buffs is a harbinger of what this game will be like.
But tough games against Oklahoma on the road and Fresno State at home coupled with the seasons bye week leading into this Pac 12 opener will allow the Bruins to pull out a close Friday night win!
I expect Kelly to find a way to keep the Buffalos off balance in the win but this is all predicated on the defense playing well enough to keep the Bruins close early and into the second half putting the pressure on the Buffs.
Also keep in mind that Colorado is going to have the same basic offense as last year allowing Bruin defensive coaches to focus on that tape in preparation for this game.
Bruins 3-1 after big Friday night win on the road!
W vs Washington 10/6/18
That’s right I said it!
Last year on the road the Bruins were playing the Huskies tough early behind Josh Rosen. Special teams wasn’t very special though giving up short field after short field to the Husky offense. To make matters worse mid way through the third quarter Rosen (The Fragile One) left the game due to injury basically ending any chance of a competitive game or a win!
The Bruins were porous on defense against the run allowing gash after gash as they could only reach for the Husky ball carriers as they blew past the defensive line, linebackers, and DB’s....horrible angles! So what would lead me to believe that they have a chance to win this game?
First, this is the statement game of the season to this point in the 2018 Bruin campaign and will probably be nationally televised if the Bruins come in 3-1.
Second, the Bruins will be at home in front of what should be a large crowd at the Arroyo Seco; so they should be fired up.
Third, a little revenge for last year’s beat down should go a long way despite how much players and coaches downplay it.
The win is possible if the defense is balanced versus run and pass and able to get pressure on the opposing QB. You all remember what pressure on a QB is right?
If the UCLA offense can run the ball killing clock while keeping their defense off the field and can execute efficiently with no to minimal turn overs there is a real good chance here.
What will also help is special teams playing solid, especially the punt team, keeping the Huskies in long field situations as much as possible.
I know that is a lot of "If’s" that need to pan out but if they play clean the home win is possible and probably decided by a late field goal. If Kelly and crew can pull this off, the season has a chance of being special.
Could the Bruins be 4-1 after the big home win?
W @ California 10/13/2018
This game scares me for the following reasons. Cal finished up last seasons campaign with a moral victory in a close three point loss on the road to Stanford as well as another three point road loss to UCLA the last game of the year. If you flip those two losses and had they came out on top of the Arizona double OT loss earlier in the year Cal is an 8-4 team heading into this season with heavy optimism. Seems like they were getting better and stayed together at the end of a difficult year.
Heading into this home game against the Bruins Cal could potentially be 4-1 or maybe even 5-0 if they are able to shock Oregon at home 9/29/18 and escape Tucson with a win on 10/6/18.
Or.....the Bears could be 2-3!
Either way the Bears generally
play the Bruins tough in Berkeley so all that aside there is that fact! Cal was 4-2 at home last season, a trend that can’t be discounted.
Kelly’s offense should, fingers crossed, be completely plugged in by this point in the season and one can only hope the O line has found some cohesion and is healthy heading up to Berkeley.
5-1 heading into the final stretch drive of the season sounds amazing.
L vs Arizona 10/20/2018
The shoe drops here a bit with a Wildcat win at the Rose Bowl. The Cats played well on the road last year and look to keep that trend going. Last year Arizona beat the Bruins up pretty good in Tucson totaling 463 yards on the ground and 605 total offensive yards, simply gaudy numbers! Rosen struggled throwing three picks with one going to the house!
This is a Bruin flip game meaning a loss in a game they are suppose to win.
Bruins 5-2 half way through the season sounds about right to me.
W vs Utah 10/27/18
Utah has a gauntlet of a schedule playing Washington, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona, and uSC prior to hitting Pasadena to play the Bruins on the last Friday in October.
The Bruins usually play the Utes tough and the home game should be the difference here in a close win!
Bruins 6-2 is a very good likelihood at this point in the campaign!
W @ Oregon 11/3/18
Chip Kelly’s competitive juices are going to be sky high for this one despite his down playing of the unavoidable fact.
If the Bruins are relatively healthy for this game and their offense is truly on solid ground, as it should be, Kelly and the Bruins should have a light hearted plane trip back to Westwood after the win!
The Ducks will host the Bruins having played Washington at home then road games against Washington State and Arizona. One can only hope that they are a little beat up from all the travel. Conversely the Bruins will be coming off two consecutive home games and will have an extra day to rest and prepare due to the previous Friday night game at home against Utah.
I really like the Bruins in this one with special teams playing a huge role.
7-2 Bruin fans as the Kelly era gets into full swing with a huge win.
W @ Arizona State 11/10/18
The Sun Devils are in for a long season in Herm Edwards first season as head coach. My guess is that they are 2-7 maybe 3-6 at this point in their campaign. Add to the mix that ASU will be coming off games against Stanford, sC (on the road), and Utah, this shapes up as a Bruin road blow out.
8-2 heading into the battle against sC.
W vs uSC 11/17/18
The 7-3 Trojans come in to Pasadena with a lessor record than the trending Bruins. Easy Trojan wins over Arizona and Oregon State, and Cal the previous three weeks sets the Blowjens up for a smack in the mouth from the tougher Bruins who will want the win a great deal more having lost the last three meetings!
Eight Clap.....Bruins 9-2
W vs Stanford 11/24/18
Jim Mora finally experiences a Bruin win over the Trees, well kind of. No doubt he’ll be pulling for his old team to beat Stanford, something he struggled with.
Reasoning for this win prediction comes down to one thing; law of averages! The Bruins are due, well over due but who’s counting the previous losses besides every Bruin supporter on the face of the earth!
Playing at home with great momentum and Bowl game ramifications at steak the Bruins rise up and Kelly is forced to diplomatically deflect questions about Moras shortcomings against the Cardinal!
Bruins finish Kelly’s first year 10-2 and head to a meaningful bowl game on, dare I say, New Years Day.