The Pac-12 made the announcement last week that the conference will be moving to a Pac-12-only schedule for most fall sports, including football. That officially wiped away the three non-conference games for each opponent and took off games against New Mexico State, Hawaii and San Diego State for your UCLA Bruins.
While many thought this was the year that Chip Kelly could improve his overall win-loss record to more than four wins, the majority of wins’ projections included those three games as three of six or seven projected wins, depending on where you looked.
With those contests now removed, what games do we think UCLA can win, and where do the expert projections have the Bruins coming away victorious? We take to the ESPN FPI machine once again to take a look.
Here’s the ESPN FPI win projection percentage for the remaining nine games on UCLA’s schedule:
Sat, Sept 26 vs Stanford — 42.1%
Sat, Oct 3 vs Arizona — 59.6%
Sat, Oct 10 @ Arizona State — 40.8%
Sat, Oct 17 @ Colorado — 53.7%
Thu, Oct 29 vs Utah — 36.0%
Sat, Nov 7 @ Oregon State — 52.4%
Sat, Nov 14 vs Washington State — 64.6%
Sat, Nov 21 vs USC — 18.9%
Fri, Nov 27 @ Cal — 34.0%
ESPN ranks UCLA’s remaining strength of schedule as just the 60th-hardest on the slate this season and gives UCLA a 0.0% chance of winning out and just a 0.6% chance of winning the Pac-12. They also project the Bruins to finish with a 4.1-5.0 record in their simulations.
That’s not much better, considering a large portion of the projected wins in ESPN’s FPI came in the first three non-conference games. Chip Kelly will have his work cut out for him this season as he is just 7-11 in Pac-12 play through two years at UCLA.
I can see wins above against Colorado, Oregon State and perhaps against Washington State, but I wouldn’t discredit the team that Mike Leach left behind nor what Nick Rolovich can do as a coach at Washington State. For them to be their biggest win percentage chance is pretty scary, to be honest.
What do you think will be UCLA’s final record with that schedule above?