After last night’s win over the Arizona State Sun Devils, the UCLA Bruins now stand at 3-2 in conference play. Let’s grasp that for a moment.
UCLA currently has a winning record in the Pac-12, even though the team is 3-5 overall.
That 3-2 conference record puts the Bruins in third place, just one game behind Utah and Southern Cal who are tied for first with 4-1 conference records.
Where, just three weeks ago, it was questionable as to whether UCLA would win another game this season, there may now be some reason for optimism.
That’s because UCLA still has games left after both the Utes and the Trojans. Of course, UCLA hosts Colorado next weekend and also hosts UC Berkeley on November 30th.
If the Bruins are able to win three of those four, they will become bowl eligible. At the same time, winning three of the four remaining games may also be enough to win the Pac-12 South, depending on which three games the Bruins win.
Heck, it’s possible that that UCLA could move into a three-way tie for first in the South just by beating Colorado next week. That’s because Southern Cal hosts the Oregon Ducks on Saturday while Utah will face the Washington Huskies. If both Utah and Southern Cal lose next week and UCLA wins, that will create a three-team logjam at the top of the Pac-12 South standings.
That would set up what would essentially be a two-week three-team playoff between UCLA, Utah and Southern Cal after UCLA’s second bye week on November 9th. To win the Pac-12, the Bruins would likely need to beat both the Utes and the Trojans in order to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against both teams.
Now, all that said, is it realistic to think UCLA could win the South? Probably not. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has added a significant dimension to the Bruins’ offense recently with his running ability, went down last night with an injury that will probably cause him to miss at least the Colorado game but, even before DTR was hurt, it’s awfully hard to jump from thinking it was doubtful the Bruins would win another game this season after losing to Oregon State to thinking they could find a way to piece together three or four more wins after beating Stanford and ASU.
It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means I’m still taking a wait-and-see approach.
What does seem likely is that the Bruins will probably win at least one of their remaining four games which would mean that UCLA will probably finish this year with a better record than last year.
For now, I’ll be happy that the Bruins beat ASU last night and I’ll wait to see what happens next weekend. All Bruin fans can do is hope that Chip Kelly is finally getting the team to develop some consistency.