UCLA Football: 2012 Game Predictions


Since 2008, I have made game-by-game predictions of the contests that the UCLA Bruins play each season.

This season will be no different, so for the fifth year in a row, here’s how I see things unfolding in Westwood, starting with the Bruins’ home games at the Rose Bowl:

Nebraska, September 8:  TOSS UP.

If this home opener, Jim Mora’s first as UCLA’s head coach, were in Lincoln, NE, I would put this game down as a loss because it’s such a big challenge for a team’s first home game with a new coach, a new offense – led by a redshirt freshman – and a new defensive scheme.

As such, the home field and crowd will help the Bruins, who will have something to prove against a big name non-conference opponent.

Houston, September 15:  WIN.

No more Case Keenum to carve up the Bruin secondary like he did last year, which usually hurts a mid-major team like the Cougars rather badly.

Oregon State, September 22:  WIN.

Any team that loses to SACRAMENTO STATE – at HOME nonetheless – like these Beavers did in 2011, is in trouble as a program. QB Sean Mannion is decent, but UCLA should handle them in this Pac-12 opener.

Utah, October 13:  TOUGH BUT WINNABLE.

The winner of this battle will likely have the inside track on second place in the Pac-12 South (behind BCS title game favorite USC). John White IV is arguably the conference’s best running back, but their 31-6 win over the Bruins last year was more a case of UCLA stinking up the place with mistakes than the Utes being clearly better.

Look for a much better performance from the Bruins this time around.

Arizona, November 3:  WIN.

Personally speaking, I was more embarrassed by UCLA’s 48-13 loss in Tucson last year, which featured the bulk of the wide receivers doing a Jerry Springer Show imitation, than the 50-0 pummeling by USC; the Bruins flat-out sucked in the desert that October night.

With Mora’s don’t-take-any-crap approach and culture, UCLA won’t play that same terrible way again, especially in front of the home folks.

USC, November 17:  PROBABLE LOSS.

But it won’t be a 50-0 beat down like what transpired in the Coliseum last season – I’ll go out on a limb and guarantee that.

The Bruins will be well motivated to enact revenge in this crosstown rivalry/war and will perform better than they did on that Thanksgiving weekend night in 2011, but…

As the Trojans have the nation’s best quarterback (Matt Barkley) and the nation’s best wide receivers (Robert Woods and Marquis Lee), combined with them being eligible for the post season after a two-year bowl ban and crowing about having “unfinished business”, that will be a bit too much for UCLA to overcome, at least this year.

But 2013 and 2014 may well be a different story.

Stanford, November 24:  WINNABLE.

The Cardinal will still be a formidable bunch with a strong running game, but one huge factor looms here:


As in the NFL’s #1 overall pick,  quarterback Andrew Luck, who along with former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh was the top reason for the Cardinal’s resurgence.

As in he’s now a millionaire taking snaps for the Indianapolis Colts.

That makes beating Stanford in this regular season finale a less-than-impossible task, depending on how the Bruins’ season goes.

As for the away games, in which UCLA was horrible the past couple of years, there are two road contests where I have the Bruins winning:

– The season opener at Rice on August 30, and…

– At Colorado on September 29.

The oher three white-jerseyed games – at California, at Arizona State, and at Washington State – will be up for grabs depending on how UCLA performs and handles those hostile environments.

That makes it five games that I call as wins, two winnables, one loss and four toss-ups.

Obviuosly speaking, how the Bruins respond to a new coach and culture, as well as how healthy they stay and how well they execute, will go far as to how accurate or inaccurate these predictions will be.