Here we are. A few months away from the start of arguably the most anticipated college football season in history. And here we are, right in the heart of what would be July/August content as we all try and find something to talk about as sports writers.
Midsummer usually presents the time to predict the season, project win-loss records and talk preseason awards. However, our timelines have been rushed and seemingly every outlet is taking the time to discuss who is going to do what this fall.
Recently, CBS Sports tried their hand at projecting the win-loss record for every Pac-12 team, including the UCLA Bruins and their 6-6 (3-6) finish that would be good enough for fourth in the Pac-12 South.
Before I do go any further, however, I want to note how they got there:
Predictions are based on talent returning, coaching turnover and recent recruiting success, among other factors. In some cases, the location of a game played a role in the prediction of who will win.
Also, before we go further into the UCLA bit, let’s look at the whole conference projections:
Cal: 11-1 (8-1)
Oregon: 10-2 (8-1)
Washington: 8-4 (6-3)
Stanford: 6-6 (4-5)
Oregon State: 5-7 (3-6)
Washington State: 3-9 (1-8)
USC: 10-2 (8-1)
Arizona State: 7-5 (5-4)
Utah: 8-4 (5-4)
UCLA: 6-6 (3-6)
Arizona: 4-8 (2-7)
Colorado: 3-9 (1-8)
So, there we are. A ripe 4th-place finish that also ties for eighth in the conference overall. It does, however, represent a bowl-eligible season and a two-game improvement from last year’s record and a three-win improvement from two years ago.
Here’s what author David Cobb had to say:
Wins: New Mexico State, at Hawaii, at San Diego State, Arizona, at Colorado, Washington State
Losses: Stanford, at Arizona State, Utah, at Oregon State, USC, at Cal
Analysis: The Bruins are fortunate to be facing two programs under first-year coaches during a sneaky challenging nonconference slate in September. Both Hawaii and San Diego State will be under new regimes after winning 10 games a piece in 2019. If the Bruins can take care of business against those foes on the road, there is a clear path to bowl eligibility in Chip Kelly’s third season. The Bruins have not recruited to the level that Kelly’s track record might suggest. But they have continuity at both coordinator positions, and it would be stunning if that does not translate to some marginal improvement after a disappointing start to Kelly’s tenure.
This, I have to say, is on the positive side of things for the Bruins this year. I can easily see two of those losses being wins, but since they think Cal is going 11-1, I won’t go too far into that one. Utah is a disaster in terms of replacing players on offense and Oregon State always seems to falter at some point, meaning those two could be wins as well.
But, I have to say, the win-column above is an interesting one. I know he writes that SDSU and Hawaii each have new regimes but, like Washington State, they each have core pieces leftover from the previous coaches that remain, and could present trouble. Then there’s Arizona and QB Grant Gunnell, who flashed absolute brilliance at times last year when he was in for Khalil Tate.
DO NOT OVERLOOK THE WILDCATS
All told, though, I can see 6-6 as a fair, but relatively positive projection for UCLA this season. Of course, we’re months away, and no spring practices shed any new light or information from what we had even in December of last year, so this is all a crap shoot at this point.
Enough from me, though, what about you? What do you think of this projection?