Did UCLA make a splash hire with Jim Mora Jr. as their new coach? Or is it just going to be more malaise carrying over from the Rick Neuheisel era? He didn’t leave the cupboard empty; he recruited quite well, but just didn’t do anything with it. UCLA is certainly a college basketball school, and “basketball on grass” is certainly not a style of college football played in Westwood.
They’ve tossed just 27 TD passes the past two years, everyone else in the pass happy Pac-12 has thrown at least 33.
2011 was: the best of times, and the worst of times. Their 6-8, 5-4 in conference finish illustrates what a disjointed, bipolar season they had. Because of USC being on sanction, a very mediocre Bruins team backed into the first ever Pac-12 championship game from a very weak division, and embarrassed themselves. And then they went and lost the most criticized bowl game of all time over another team Illinois, that had their coach fired before the game as well. The Bruins lost a home state bowl game to the Illini, but got revenge in the girls’ volleyball national championship game (see pic above)
2012 will go smoothly if: they find a quarterback, and learn how to pass the ball. They ranked just 88th in that category last season, and signal caller is still not settled. This team has talent, but could use more experience, and who knows how they’ll adjust to the new coaching staff and coordinators. They can certainly run the ball. behind Johnathan Franklin and the senior’s back-up 2009 National Gatorade Player of the Year Malcolm Jones.
2012 will be rough if: Their defense, especially against the run, continues to gets torched. Bruins were 92nd in scoring D, 96th versus the run and need to replace some key components up front. The secondary, which was decent to mediocre returns fully intact. It should help. Let’s see what that top 10 recruiting class of 2012 can do!
BMOC: RBs Franklin & Bash, I mean Franklin and Jones, DE Datone Jones, WR Joseph Fauria,CBs Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price
All-name team: WR Shaq Evans, DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, QB T.J. Millweard
Bottom Line: There are some questions on offense, at pretty much every position, so reaching a bowl depends on them winning all their winnable games. They have enough talent to pull off a couple upsets and be a force in the conference.They appear to be a 5-7 to 7-5 squad. When you have that seniors climbing over the wall to ditch their last practice early tradition, I think it says something about the program’s toughness. and Neuheisel really needed to be fired.
Rankings Athlon- 42 Lindy’s- 48 Phil Steele- 41
All the 77s
#67 Southern Miss
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should tooPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks