Can UCLA Join the Pac-12 NCAA Football Odds Elite?

Posted by Mila Anderson on August 12, 2015 in

Did you know that if UCLA had been able to stop Edgerrin James (39 carries for 299 yards), they would have been part of the first BCS Champion Game after the 1998 season? However, that December loss to the Miami Hurricanes kept the Bruins out of that game – and then the Bruins went on a downward spiral that has never righted itself. Even though Cade McNown would go 20-0 as a quarterback in his last two college football betting seasons with UCLA, many would forget that the team was once a dominant program.

Taking a Look at if UCLA Can Join the Pac-12 NCAA Football Odds Elite

Even before that, UCLA football is a storied program. With 12 Rose Bowl appearances and the longer continuous win streak (8) in the series against USC, there was a time when UCLA football was on the front pages across the country. However, it was not until 2014 that UCLA began making any rumblings about returning to championship caliber. If it weren’t for that late season embarrassment against Stanford, UCLA would have appeared in the Pac-12 Championship game.

So what does UCLA have on its side as it looks to move back into the elite of the Pac-12? They have recruited well, but despite the talent coming in, the development has not been quite up to where it needs to be, particularly when it comes to putting together an elite secondary. The offensive line looks to finally be good this year after several years of poor performances. Coach Mora has received plaudits for leadership, particularly in the areas of handling public issues, boosting salaries and raising athletic funds. However, he still needs to come away with a win in a crucial game.

Let’s Talk UCLA Bruins Propects

One prospect who is particularly impressive is Myles Jack, rated as the #1 prospect in the whole Pac-12. He is quick enough to convert to running back and be an elite player as well, but he is stellar when it comes to covering tight ends and running backs from his linebacker position. His route anticipation is especially strong for a prospect. Kenny Clark receives rave reviews for winning leverage battles on the defensive line, helping to bottle up the run. Eddie Vanderdoes is another strong run defender on the defensive line. Fabian Moreau is a cornerback who excels at sticking with receivers – until he decides to gamble and give them enough space for the quarterback to risk sending a ball that way.

Opposing coaches worry about the athleticism and speed that the Bruins bring to each game. Deon Hollins, who ended up with nine sacks in 2014, is a particularly impressive player. The team does need to settle on a quarterback. Josh Rosen has a cannon of an arm, but Jerry Neuheisel has a better mental grasp of the game, and his instincts may be just what the Bruins need to contend in the Pac-12.

Given the fact that USC also appears to be waking up from a bit of a malaise, the teams’ matchup this season could be the best tilt since their 1967 “Game of the Century.” The winner may end up representing the South in the conference title game.