The Bruins are rolling into the de facto Pac-12 South title contest. Talk about what impressed you the most from the Washington State game and what the team still needs to work on.
Ryan Rosenblatt, Bruins Nation: Once again, the play of Brett Hundley was impressive. Admittedly, the Washington St. defense isn't going to scare anyone, but the UCLA offensive line wasn't very good and he still had a very, very efficient game. He made one mistake, but otherwise his decision making was excellent again and he showed the same fantastic poise he has had all year.
UCLA's toughest foes on the schedule still remain in front of them. What do the Bruins have to do to make this a successful season?
Ryan: Beat USC. A win on Saturday gives the Bruins nine wins, a win over the Trojans and a spot in the Pac-12 Title Game (one they actually earned). That's a successful season so long as they don't get their doors completely blown off against Stanford, in the Pac-12 Title Game and in the bowl game.
UCLA got plastered by USC last year, and both teams return most of the same personnel. What has changed that gives you the feeling that the Bruins can return the favor?
Ryan: The young guys that didn't play a year ago have completely changed the level of talent at UCLA and the coaching staff has overhauled the mental state. A bunch of guys who were starting last year are now sitting on the bench watching freshmen play and their talent is actually being taken advantage of. This isn't the same UCLA team in the slightest.
What will be the biggest matchups that UCLA must win to beat USC?
Ryan: This isn't necessarily one that UCLA has to win, but they can't get torched in the secondary. The USC receivers are fantastic and the UCLA DB's have been...shaky (we're being kind here). If the Bruins can not get killed in that match-up, they will be fine. The same is true of the Bruins' offensive line against the Trojans' defensive line.
What's your prediction for UCLA vs USC and why?
Ryan: I think this is UCLA's year. KC Joyner had a good piece on ESPN breaking down the numbers and the defenses are even and the passing games are even close, while UCLA holds a distinctive edge in the running game. Johnathan Franklin will be the difference, and a late Matt Barkley interception seals a 38-35 Bruin victory.