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The “Eye Test”: UCLA’s First Complete Game Leads to Complete Dominance of UC Berkeley

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Well, that was exactly what we hoped a Chip Kelly team would look like.

NCAA Football: UCLA at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Good news, we can all exhale.

I stated repeatedly last week that the biggest thing UCLA had to do going into the game against UC Berkeley was show week-to-week consistency. That had been a problem for the Bruins this year, and if UCLA was going to make any sort of forward momentum this year, they had to prove they were capable of showing actual growth over multiple weeks.

Suffice to say, that happened.

UCLA was better than I hoped they would be in downing the Bears 37-7. It was a complete game, with the offense, defense, and special teams all operating at a (relatively) high level. Were some units better than others in this game? Absolutely, and we’ll break all of that down coming up, but at least for the 5 seconds before I start picking nits, let’s recognize that we, at the moment, have a UCLA football team that is getting better as the season progresses.

Oh, and for the record, I wasn’t planning on using the unpaid intern again, but he literally sent me a text saying he wanted to write a few things in the middle of the 3rd quarter, and I was too drunk on the proceedings of the game to say no. Plus he’s getting a new job soon which hopefully means he’ll be too busy writing other things to write here, so I’ll let him chime in a few times. Like right now!

Well I’m going to be the odd man out and say that I saw this coming for months. It’s funny because when I was deciding between colleges, my choice came down to Berkeley and UCLA. My father really wanted me to attend Berkeley, but I have common sense, and I chose UCLA.

Before I enrolled at UCLA, we were tied with Berkeley as the number one public institution in America, and after I enrolled, we eventually became the sole owner of that number one spot. I’m not trying to say that correlation and causation are the same thing, but it’s a pleasant coincidence. On a more serious note, I always knew we were going to beat Cal. Did I expect a 37-7 beatdown? Not at all. But let’s be realistic, we already knew UCLA was the better school academically, now we know it’s the better football school too.

The Bruins came out Saturday and beat the brakes off of the Golden Bears. Watching the game, you wouldn’t have thought that the Bruins were the winless team coming into Saturday’s matchup. But their performance was domineering in every sense of the word. So yeah I predicted this, but I certainly didn’t expect to see UCLA put on that type of a performance.

God, he’s so precious and full of energy. How could I say no? Let’s get into this.

Offense

Quarterback - There’s this point of contention I have regarding Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s performance in the last few weeks, specifically how people have reacted to it with something of a “See! You all were being hyperbolic when you said he should have been benched.” And I would argue that, no, those points were still justified at the time, and DTR’s development in recent weeks has had less to do with him and more to do with the things surrounding him.

Consider that DTR only threw the ball 15 times in this game (and was sacked twice), compared to 53 rushing attempts. And, yes, a few of those rushing attempts were DTR scrambling on a pass attempt, but even adding his rushing attempts to his passing attempts, he still was the primary focus less than Joshua Kelley. The running back rotation has shortened and focused in on one player, which has created much more consistency in the run game compared to, say, the Fresno State game, where 4 running backs got at least 4 carries (and none of them were Kelley). And let’s compare the amount of wide receivers - only 5 UCLA players saw targets in this game, and 1 of them was a running back. Just looking back at Fresno State, 8 players were targeted in that game, with again only 1 being a running back. Or even the offensive line, which began to show improvements against Fresno State but really took off in the next game against Colorado when Boss Tagaloa came back from suspension and was inserted into the lineup.

(Before I go any further, and to stop people from jumping down my throat, you should know this grade is an A-. Now let’s keep going.)

All of which is to say that Chip Kelly has found success with DTR specifically because he has limited what he has had to do in games. Just take his interview from this past week, when asked about DTR’s seeming-unwillingness to keep on the read option:

Not that I know of. I think he’s doing a really good job with it [the read option]. But we don’t run much of it, to be honest with you. I think sometimes people are a little confused when they watch football games on what they think a play is or not a play is.

Later in the interview, he essentially stated that DTR isn’t given much in the way of reads, especially in the run game, which simplifies the game for him. In fact, the shift in this game almost seemed to recognize that, for UCLA to win, it needed to take as much off the plate of Thompson-Robinson as possible.

And it worked! This was easily Thompson-Robinson’s best game as a Bruin, as he went 13-15 for 141 yards and a 165.6 passer rating. The gameplan did not call on DTR to win this game with his arm (like the plan against Washington did when the coaching staff realized that Theo Howard and Caleb Wilson had positive matchups against the Huskie secondary) and instead needed him to be steady and consistent, which he was. There was still a host of throws that made me cover my hands with my eyes (the tipped pass that Caleb Wilson caught near the goal line stood out here, but there were a few times he threw across his body that somehow worked), and hopefully he now understands that he shouldn’t try hurdling people, but he mostly played within himself, and that worked.

Plus, just so people don’t think I love to harp on DTR all day, I present a moment of growth. Late in the 3rd quarter, UCLA was faced with a 4th and 2 at the UC Berkeley 23 yard line. Chip Kelly elected to go for the first down, and called a QB roll-out with a pass to the flat. Eagle-eyed viewers may have recognized this same exact play from week 1, when UCLA ran a similar play against Cincinnati that was not converted. On that week 1 play, DTR rolled out and threw an absolute laser that had no shot at being caught. This time, the roll-out led to an easy touch pass that Joshua Kelley caught and ran for 7 yards. That’s real, tangible progress, and you really hope that continues going forward.

And now a word from the Unpaid Intern:

For the first time this season, I saw Thompson-Robinson improve on an already improved performance. His poise, his reads, and his ability to use his legs looked good on Saturday. He didn’t just look good by his own standards, he looked good by any college football standards. Now don’t get me confused. I’m not saying he should be on Heisman watch. But let’s be realistic, he played well.

I think he’s showing a lot of signs of a matured quarterback. Is he the calm pocket passer that Rosen was? Not even close. But when things get sticky in the pocket he seems to know how to flush out and throw the ball away. At the beginning of the season, if things didn’t work out for him, he forced it. So learning to throw the ball out of bounds is more important than it may seem to be.

When Thompson-Robinson was recruited out of high school, he was touted as a dual threat QB. We didn’t really see that in the first few games, which is odd because Chip Kelly typically likes running a fast paced, spread offense with multiple athletic players at skill positions. But we certainly saw that DTR can run, and boy does he have wheels. It wasn’t really designed runs that showed off his speed, but when he got flushed out of the pocket and couldn’t find a receiver, he took off.

DTR might have gotten lucky a couple of times, and he still has a very long way to go in becoming one of the more notable quarterbacks in college football. But this was certainly a step in the right direction.

Running Backs - Hold on, let me just post this real fast:

30 carries, 157 yards (5.2 YPC), 3 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 8 yards.

That is just *chefs kiss* good right there. I don’t really have words for Joshua Kelley’s performance here. It was the kind of running back performance UCLA has lacked for years, and I would honestly say it’s the best performance since Maurice Jones-Drew was running through opposing defenses. If I can point out one thing, it’s that I love that Kelley always seems to fall forward when he gets tackled. That always adds a yard or two to every run, which add up over the course of a game/drive and make things much, much easier on the offense. Kelley has clearly grabbed the feature back job, and I don’t see him giving it up any time soon.

There were some runs by other running backs. Martell Irby and Kazmeir Allen got 4 and 2 carries, respectively, and they were fine, nothing amazing. Bolu Olorunfunmi came in during UCLA’s first “adventure” in the red zone (aka the first time they settled for a field goal) and he ran to the wrong side of DTR on the fake. Or he ran to the right side and DTR messed up. Either way, the play was done from that moment on, as was Bolu’s appearances in the backfield for the rest of the game. Cole Kinder actually had the 2nd-most rushing attempts by a UCLA running back, and those all came in garbage time. But I’m not lowering this grade because of the other running backs. This was an A.

Unpaid Intern: Someone should have told Joshua Kelley that Berkeley has a stout run defense, because he certainly seemed to forget. And yes, Kelley is our lead back going forward. The Soso and Bolu era at UCLA is more than likely over.

Joshua Kelley’s an interesting player. He’s not particularly fast, shifty, or elusive. And weighing in at 210, he’s not the biggest back either. But he runs hard; he finds the holes and zips through them, and he refuses to go down easily. So he doesn’t have any specific quality that stands out. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none, but pretty good at all of them. I really don’t have any worries going forward with Kelley.

He came out Saturday and put a beating on the Bears defense, showing us that his Washington performance was no fluke. UCLA has become primarily a rush-oriented offense, which is something I haven’t said in a very long time.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends - Excuse me for one second before I start, but I just imagined Josh Rosen with this receiver/RB group and got sad for him all over again. That dude had 0 luck while at UCLA.

Anyway, the receiver rotation has really shrunk in recent weeks, with UCLA really only running 3 receivers (Theo Howard, Demetric Felton, and Michael Ezeike) for the majority of the game. Chase Cota, who looked like he was in line for an increased amount of playing time after week 1, only really saw the field in garbage time. Dymond Lee did see the field, but it was for some gadget plays. That’s about it, really. And solidifying the receiver rotation has really helped the whole offense become more consistent, as guys are able to develop a groove and chemistry with DTR.

But this section also features tight ends, and Caleb Wilson probably needs to find a copy of this game on replay and send it out as his NFL highlight reel, because he did it all in this game. There’s the flashy stuff (5 catches for 92 yards) that show why he’s such a clear mismatch for opposing linebackers and secondaries, but he also did the other things extremely well. Specifically here, I’m talking about blocking. Caleb has a reputation (well-earned, honestly) of being a less-than-ideal blocker, but the running game’s success had as much to do with Wilson absolutely manhandling defenders than anything else. There was this amazing sequence to start the second quarter where the announcers could not stop gushing about Wilson’s blocking on the edge to open up solid gains for Joshua Kelley, immediately followed up by a catch and run for 46 yards. Just impressive stuff from Wilson in this game, and of anyone on this team, he once gain looks like a guy who is going to make the jump to the NFL at the end of the season.

The good news is UCLA will probably be fine at tight end going forward. Devin Asiasi and Jordan Wilson were utilized repeatedly in the game, as UCLA went to a host of 3 tight-end sets that just destroyed UC Berkeley’s ability to defend the run, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Asiasi in particular get more integrated into the passing game going forward, if only because the combination of Asiasi and Wilson seems like it would be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Even walk-on Drew Platt got some run (which I only recognized because he was the one who got blown up on Michael Ezeike’s ill-timed sweep attempt).

This unit wasn’t asked to do a ton, but it excelled every time it was asked to contribute, so let’s go with an A. I’m handing these out like hotcakes today.

Offensive Line - Here’s the weird thing: I felt the offensive line was not as good this week as it was against Washington.

Which is not to say it was a bad performance by any stretch. I mean, you saw those rushing numbers, right? But there were some individual struggles that weren’t as evident against the Huskies. Jake Burton was “responsible” for one of the two sacks, but only because UC Berkeley sent 2 guys on a blitz right at him, and was only able to pick up one (which is also what you’d expect him to do in that situation, hence the air quotes). Michael Alves got beat for the second one, at which point I really worried that the offensive line was going to take a huge step back in this game.

Luckily, the offensive line settled down after those first two drives, and had an impressive game. The worst performer was probably Andre James, who was ok in run blocking for the most part, though I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the best runs to his side also featured Caleb Wilson as an extra blocker. Boss Tagaloa has really taken to being center, and the confidence he’s projecting at the position just feels contagious for the rest of the line. Christophany Murray has adjusted well to shifting out to guard, and while he’s still not playing as consistently as his line mates, you can clearly see how talented he is and why the coaching staff has such confidence in him.

So yeah, not as good as the Washington game, but still good enough for a B. I had to grade hard somewhere here.

Overall - Over the past two weeks, UCLA has played (at the time of this writing) the 9th ranked defense (Washington) and 12th ranked defense (UC Berkeley) according to S&P+. And they’ve found a way to move the ball both weeks! That’s impressive!

This week was more impressive simply because the execution was there for most of the game. The offense was shaky for the first two drives, but here’s what UCLA did the rest of the game:

UCLA Drive Results vs UC Berkeley

Drive # Result
Drive # Result
1 Touchdown
2 Field Goal
3 Field Goal
4 Punt
5 Halftime
6 Touchdown
7 Touchdown

Outside of that 4th drive which was meant to kill as much time as possible before the half, and the kneel-down to end the half, UCLA went on an offensive tear that essentially put the game away early in the 3rd quarter. On top of that, UCLA put together a huge drive following UC Berkeley’s lone touchdown drive of the day, which emphatically answered the Golden Bear TD and announced that UCLA’s offense was going to dominate for the rest of the second half. That wasn’t just a big momentum swing, but a great message to the defense.

Still, I have to be a little critical in this grade just because of those opening drives, and some poor execution in a few other spots (that 4th drive punt was caused in part because Michael Ezeike did not run his route past the 1st down marker like he needed to). But against what is still a top-end defense, UCLA put up some damn impressive numbers, so I’ll give the offense an A-. Now keep it going.

Defense

Defensive Line - The defensive line...wasn’t really great in this game? I mean, they looked pretty good against a solid Washington line, but in this game they had their share of issues against a decidedly-subpar UC Berkeley line. Maybe a bit of a let-down game?

The true freshmen weren’t nearly the big stars that they’ve been in the past, which I guess isn’t surprising since this is the 6th game and you’d expect true freshmen to hit some sort of wall around this point. Which is not to say Atonio Mafi and Otito Ogbonnia were bad; rather, they were more up-and-down. It probably did not help that UCLA committed to rotating more defensive linemen in the game to keep legs fresh (this was the first time we really saw Chigozie Nnoruka get considerable play in a game, for example) so guys weren’t able to get in a rhythm.

Really the best performer was probably Osa Odighizuwa, which at the very least is a positive development, especially considering his pedigree. If Odighizuwa can emerge as an impact defensive lineman, it can go a long way to mitigating the loss of Jaelan Phillips for the year, as he has shown flashes of ability to get in the backfield in a hurry the past few years.

Still, not a real knock-out performance from this group, which is rather disappointing considering how well they played against Washington and the relative quality of the UC Berkeley line. You would expect a line full of true freshmen playing meaningful snaps to not be this consistent through the year, so at least it’s understandable. Still, going with a C here because it really was just an average performance.

Linebackers - I have been, well, let’s be charitable and say harsh towards the inside linebackers so far this year, but Krys Barnes has really come on in the past few weeks. I’ve seen mention that this is about when the light came on for Eric Kendricks and he went from below-average linebacker to Eric F’ing Kendricks, and while Barnes isn’t at that level yet, it’s still a huge step up from where he was heading into this season. Hell, it’s a huge step up from where he was at the end of the non-conference schedule. We really have taken the inside linebacker position for granted for years, as there was a pretty seamless transition from Eric Kendricks to Jayon Brown to Kenny Young (currently playing meaningful snaps for the Baltimore Ravens and their league-leading defense). It’s been rough watching this unit slip, but if Barnes can continue this level of play and even improve on it, that’d be a huge development for the Bruins going forward.

By comparison, Tyree Thompson was not nearly as good, but he too is starting to make more good plays than bad, which for a guy who was slated to probably be the backup before injuries to Josh Woods and Je’Vari Anderson pushed him into the starting lineup is a good development.

I’m burying the lede here, though, because the real star of this group was Keisean Lucier-South. That’s what happens when you tip an interception to yourself, scoop up a fumble for a touchdown, and strip-sack the opposing quarterback on a separate occasion. KLS also led the team in tackles for loss, racking up 3.5 on the night. With the news that Phillips is now out for the year, KLS’s explosion in this game is a great sign for the defense going forward.

The downside is, with inside linebacker looking competent-to-good, and KLS balling out at one outside linebacker spot, we’re left wondering what will happen at the other spot. Odua Isibor got the start and looked fine, while Elijah Wade looked better, but in limited reps. I’d love to see Marcus Moore show the ability that made him such a force in the second half of last year, but it’s still undetermined how much his offseason injury set him back.

Overall, you have to like what the linebackers did in this game, and they were probably the best-performing unit on defense. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m giving them an A-.

Secondary - I...don’t know how to grade the secondary in this game, to be honest.

There are a few reasons for that. Reason #1: UC Berkeley is bad at throwing the ball. This is especially true with Brandon McIlwain at quarterback, who is known more for his legs than his arms. Reason #2: UC Berkeley is bad at throwing the ball. I’m restating this, because Berkeley’s wide receivers are not very good, and struggle at creating separation. Reason #3: UCLA’s defensive gameplan required the secondary to play as conservatively as possible, for reasons I’ll get into in the coaching section.

So, with all that said, the secondary played fine. Darnay Holmes had 5 tackles and a pass breakup. Nate Meadors had one of his better games of the year in the first half before departing in the second due to an apparent injury. Elijah Gates was more-than capable subbing in for Meadors. Adarius Pickett again led the team in tackles (because he’s essentially playing as a third inside linebacker at this point).

What is important is that the secondary succeeded at their specific win condition. When we talk about win conditions, we mean the things they need to do to secure a victory. In this case, the secondary just needed to make sure UC Berkeley did not get any explosive plays downfield, and they succeeded. Berkeley took some shots, but each time featured a UCLA defender going stride-for-stride with the Golden Bear receiver. So an A- for the specific unit doesn’t feel bad in the slightest.

Unpaid Intern: I’m not sure if I made this clear in the last eye test, so let me get one thing straight. Adarius Pickett is a beast, no doubt about it. Oh wait, I definitely said that before. Well, now you heard it a second time.

Our defensive backs really showed how much they’ve improved at tackling. One of my biggest frustrations during the Jim Mora era was that our defensive backs would lower the shoulder looking for a big hit (instead of wrapping up), miss, and then allowing the receiver to gain extra yards. So last Saturday it was incredibly refreshing to see that Berkeley receivers did not pick up much yardage after the catch.

Overall - So for all the praise the offense got up top, the defense didn’t get nearly the same level. Why? Because UC Berkeley’s offense is awful. As of this writing, their offense currently sits ranked 119th in the nation by S&P+, which is abysmal. Their QB, Brandon McIlwain, has accounted for 11 turnovers (he’s only played meaningful snaps in 3 games I believe), which is more by himself than UCLA has as a team. Point is, they’re bad.

So while I’m impressed by the offensive showing in this game, I’m less so of the defense, because I expected them to do well, and they did. If the defense had struggled all game, I would be flashing warning signs all over the place, but instead you just had a competent performance, which is all that was needed. Shutting out an opponent in 1 half (though they did need a missed FG) is impressive, and outside of the touchdown drive UCLA’s defense did a good job of limiting UC Berkeley’s offense.

If you want positives, take heart in the fact that UCLA was able to limit McIlwain on the ground, which is where he’s most effective. It’s not that UCLA strictly gameplanned for this, but that players stuck to their assignments and kept contain, which is a positive development for a program that has stunk against mobile quarterbacks for what seems like a decade now. So, we’ll go with a B+ here. Did what they had to do, probably could have been better, but still very good.

Special Teams

Overall - Johnny Den Bleyker missed this game due to an injury, UCLA started a walk-on as long-snapper, and the special teams play did not suffer in the slightest.

Really, this unit has just been so good in recent weeks that I’m starting to be at a loss for words. J.J. Molson made all of his kicks, including a 42-yard attempt late in the game that had to have been called if only to give him a rep from distance. What made me appreciate Molson more was watching Berkeley’s kicker to end the 1st half, as he managed to get iced by Chip Kelly calling consecutive timeouts. That was just a rough way to end the half.

Stefan Flintoft...wasn’t as good as he has been? He only averaged 41.2 yards on his punts, though at least he was only called on to punt 4 times in total. UCLA even got a long punt return from Adarius Pickett, who ran down the sideline for 40 yards in the second quarter.

The only real downside was for special teams was a long-ish punt return allowed, and that was only 19 yards, so it’s not the worst thing in the world. Between that and Flintoft’s shorter punts, though, I’m going to knock the overall grade down a peg for an A-.

Coaching

Offensive Gameplan - It’s hard to take too much issue with an offensive gameplan that resulted in 348 yards (207 rush yards) and 30 points against a top-15 defense by S&P+. It was interesting to see UCLA utilize way more multiple tight end sets in this game, with Caleb Wilson, Devin Asiasi, and Jordan Wilson all on the field to run block. More importantly, those multiple tight end sets were a tacit admission that UCLA’s best bet for sustained offensive success this year is on the ground, and the UCLA offensive personnel paid off that decision in spades.

But there is some issue to take, particularly with some of the playcalling in the second quarter, when UCLA got way too cute with what it wanted to do. The most egregious was the second trip to the red zone. Prior to that trip, UCLA had scored a touchdown every time they had gone to the red zone. The first and goal play, a straight give to Joshua Kelley, was very successful, getting UCLA down to the 1 yard line. They followed that up with a jet sweep to Michael Ezeike, a too-cute play call with the wrong personnel running it (that’s such a Demetric Felton or Theo Howard play, not Ezeike, who is a bigger receiver). The 3rd down play was doomed from execution, with Olorunfunmi running the wrong way for the fake, and DTR forced to just run forward into the waiting arms of the defense.

UCLA followed that series up by trying to run a WR pass with former QB Dymond Lee, which gets props for the creativity but negative points because it hurt the flow of an offense that, by all rights, was getting into a groove running the ball. That UCLA even got into field goal range on that drive, where UCLA made all sorts of little mistakes, is as much a testament for how many things went their way than anything.

And we do need to mention the whole 5-14 on 3rd down thing. It certainly helps at times that UCLA is so committed to going for it on 4th down (they did so twice in this game) but points were left on the table thanks to UCLA’s inability to convert on 3rd down, especially when they went 2-5 on 3rd and shorts (1-4 yards). Considering how well UCLA ran in this game, that should have been almost-automatic.

But these are minor issues in the grand scheme of things. As I said, the recognition that UCLA’s rushing attack should be the strength and focus was much-needed, as is simplifying things for DTR. So yeah, I’m pretty satisfied with this performance, so let’s go with an A-.

Defensive Gameplan - The gameplan against a very bad UC Berkeley offense was pretty simple: keep everything in front of you, limit explosive plays, and wait for them to make a mistake. And make mistakes they did! The Golden Bears had 5 turnovers, barely completed over 50% of their passes, and went 1-5 on 4th down. So from a gameplan perspective, this was absolutely the right call.

I guess my criticism is that I expected more? But I can’t really argue with the results. It wasn’t a daring plan by any stretch, and I’m not sure what this says about the rest of the season, especially with UCLA playing so conservatively, but there really isn’t much to write about here. UCLA effectively shut down a bad offense, simple as that, so an A- works here (the ding is for that 2nd-half touchdown drive, which was way too easy coming out of halftime).

Overall - I mean, what can I really say here? The coaching staff had a gameplan on both sides of the ball that had effectively ended the game by the early stages of the 4th quarter. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

And, to be sure, UC Berkeley is not a good team, but it’s hard to say we are at this point either, yet we looked better than Oregon realistically did against this same Golden Bears squad. There wasn’t a let-down like I expected coming off the Washington loss, which again is a testament to the coaching staff. Essentially, the little things are what is going to keep this from a full A. Things like that 2nd half touchdown drive for the 2nd-best public university, or the cutesy playcalling in the second quarter. You can more-easily brush them off in a laugher of a victory, but there are still some good teams on the schedule, and if UCLA wants to prove itself, it will need to cut out these mistakes from both the players AND coaching staff. So we’ll go with an A- this week.

Discipline/Execution

Overall - 4 penalties for 30 yards. 3 of which were false starts, one committed by a walk-on tight end, another by (according to the game tracker) a defensive lineman brought in to block, and a third by a true freshman. Not bad.

The fourth was not a great decision by Krys Barnes, as he had already ended the play when he chose to inflict more punishment on the Berkeley runner by slamming him to the ground. He made up for it with a few big plays later in the drive, but it was the kind of play that can’t happen against better opponents.

But I think what saves this grade is the comparison to UC Berkeley. Specifically, how UCLA not-only out-executed the Golden Bears, but also played a clean game. When you can go +5 in the turnover battle, that’s a great sign, and while UCLA was a bit lucky at times (like Joshua Kelley’s fumble going out of bounds while the Bruins were able to recover a Patrick Laird fumble before it went out of bounds) they also made their own luck. So the Bruins are earning another A- in this category. It really seems to fit into the theme of “great game with some minor flaws” that has been going on in this whole piece.

Final Composite

Offense grade: A- (3.7)

Defensive grade: B+ (3.3)

Special Teams grade: A- (3.7)

Coaching grade: A- (3.7)

Discipline grade: A- (3.7)

Final grade for UC Berkeley: A (3.62)

And, to recap, here are UCLA’s grades so far this season (along with handy links to the Eye Test for those games):

Cincinnati: C (2.12)

Oklahoma: C+ (2.2)

Fresno State: D (1.0)

Colorado: C (2.02)

Washington: B (3.0)

So I’m pretty sure this is the first-ever A-level grade I’ve ever given out in this. Or at the very least, is the first one in a long time. I don’t know what it necessarily means in the grand scheme of things, however. We should get one thing straight: UC Berkeley is not very good. They’ve been trending down for a few weeks. It may say more that so many of us were confident in the victory heading into the game than anything. So I wasn’t surprised that UCLA won, but rather the way they won.

And now, again, I have to ring the bell of warning. UCLA heads into a matchup with an Arizona team that is, much like UC Berkeley, trending in the wrong direction. On paper, this should be a matchup that UCLA wins handily, so the question will be whether that holds true or not. Time will, once again, tell.

Go Bruins!