The college football season is arguably the biggest and most anticipated sports season of collegiate sport calendar in any year, but in 2020, the college football season will take on a significant role in everyone’s life as it would be the return of major sports after the coronavirus pandemic.
That being said, and as it’s on the horizon for a few months from now, Caesars Palace unveiled their projected wins totals for the 2020 season in the Pac-12.
It’s not good for UCLA as Vegas seems to be on the fence for head coach Chip Kelly improving his team’s record from a season ago.
UCLA’s win total is set at 5 1⁄2 games, tied with Stanford and Oregon State for third-worst record in the conference. Let’s take a look at the 2020 schedule and what the Bruins chances may be to improve on the Vegas mark.
Week 1 vs New Mexico State
As a big fan of independents and their chances at causing disruption at the Power-5 level, New Mexico State’s Josh Adkins just transferred away and they’re left with a ton of holes on their offense. This one is a win — 1-0.
Week 2 @ Hawaii
This is a program breaking in a new coach and new quarterback but the trip to the island should cause concern for Bruins. Still, this one should also be a win — 2.0.
Week 4 @ San Diego State
The Aztecs heavy rushing attack could present problems but the talent for UCLA is overall much better. Another win — 3-0.
Week 5 vs Stanford
Davis Mills was once the highest-ranked quarterback in a recruiting class that included Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. If he plays up to his ability as the full-time starter, this one presents a challenge, throw a loss down at the current moment, projecting that Mills does look like the top QB from his class — 3-1.
Week 6 vs Arizona
I am a believer in Grant Gunnell at quarterback for the Wildcats. This is a tough one to call as Arizona is currently projected just 4 1⁄2 wins or the lowest total in the conference. Similarly to Stanford, if Gunnell can play up to his high-level of play, the Wildcats can secure a much bigger win total than projected and this is a game they can win — 3-2.
Week 7 @ Arizona State
Jayden Daniels and Frank Darby are going to be counted on to take the next step as the Sun Devils have to replace Brandon Aiyuk and Eno Benjamin on the offensive side of the ball. The defense was underrated last year and returns the majority of their best players, so this is a rough one for UCLA — 3-3.
Week 8 @ Colorado
Now this is a win. New head coach Karl Dorrell hasn’t even had the chance to meet his team in person yet basically so this will be a tough team to watch unfold in 2020 — 4-3.
Week 9 vs Utah
I am not as high on the Utes in 2020 as others may be but I still think they have enough pieces returning on defense that they can cause some trouble for opponents. Cameron Rising or Jake Bentley have a ton of talent (Rising) or a ton of starting experience (Bentley) and the Utah season will come down to their success. Still, give me the Utes — 4-4.
Week 10 @ Oregon State
The Beavers and head coach Jonathan Smith are building something impressive but there are too many question marks on this team entering the season. A new quarterback and a ton of transfer receivers present what could be challenges as they try to mesh as a unit. If they do, don’t be surprised is Oregon State pulls this one out — 4-5.
Week 11 vs Washington State
No Mike Leach here but Nick Rolovich inherits an incredibly talented unit on offense and defense. How his offensive plan differs and adjusts from the current roster and their knowledge will be their biggest storyline all year long. Unfortunately, as it stands, the Cougars roster is supremely talented — 4-6.
Week 12 vs USC
Kedon Slovis is a dark horse candidate for the Heisman. The Trojans are the highest-ranked team in the conference depending on where you look (alternating with the Ducks). If I was a betting man, I’d say the Victory Bell remains with the Trojans — 4-7.
Week 13 @ Cal
I’m not even going to pick this one because at this rate — Vegas seems to be close to spot on with winnable and losable games for the Bruins in 2020. Even a win against Cal to close the season would put the win total at five if all these scenarios came true and that’s not enough. You’d have to assume injuries take place here and there too and that’s what makes projections so difficult to actually come close.
Unfortunately for Bruins fans, Vegas is often more right than they are wrong so 5 1⁄2 wins at this point of the season is not a great starting point.
What are you projections for this team this season? Would you move the win total projection up or down at all?