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UCLA Bruins football looks ready to contend for that College Football Playoff

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Christian Petersen

UCLA dominated Arizona State. Who were the players of the game for the Bruins?

Josh Estes: Ishmael Adams. I'd question any special teams coordinators that challenge Adams to bring it out of the end zone on a kick off. I think Bruins fans also have to be happy with the progress of the offensive line. They're taken a lot of criticism over the last few weeks, and although ASU's front seven is very weak, the Bruins' hogs protected their QB. And with Brett Hundley banged up, that could pay dividends for the next few weeks.

Sam Barbee: An easy choice would be Brett Hundley, with a very smooth and efficient 18/23 for 355 yards and four touchdowns, but I'll go with the entire UCLA offense. Scoring 62 points a good feat in any game, and UCLA did it in a Pac 12 game on the road. UCLA could do anything they want offensively, and although ASU probably isn't any good, UCLA still had to convert; and boy did they.

Trace Travers: For me, it's the easy choice in Brett Hundley. He came back from an arm injury and played lights out. Hitting Jordan Payton in stride going into the second half sealed it for me, along with carving up ASU's defense with his leg. Honorable mention goes to Ryan Hofmeister for a huge block on the Ishmael Adams kick return TD. That is to one of the most satisfying hits to make in football.

Roy Stenlund:  I have to go with Brett Hundley. He brings a dynamic to their offense, and just flat out played great.


Were there any silver linings that UCLA could take away from yesterday's performance? Which players stood out to you in defeat?

Josh Estes: What were the silver linings? I'm not sure there was much you could dislike with the Bruins performance. Outside of winning, the fact that Brett Hundley left the game healthy has got to be the most "silver lining-esque" element of the Bruins night in Tempe.

Sam Barbee: It was an all-phase win. A kickoff return touchdown, an interception return touchdown, multiple offensive touchdowns, and Brett Hundley is healthy. It wasn't an "ugly" win that they got away with. It was a really good all-phase win.

Trace Travers: Turnover margin and the DBs making plays. Ishmael Adams was a monster out there, but Anthony Jefferson deserves credit as well. He made some very nice deflections in coverage and got a pick for his troubles.

Roy Stenlund:  The silver lining for me was going on the road and completely dismantling Arizona State in their own house.

What is your opinion of Jim Mora's performance so far this season? What are the strengths and weaknesses you've seen from him this year?


Josh Estes: UCLA has played four games, and they've only looked good in one. But they've won all four. At this point, I'd give Mora an A-, which really has to do with the preseason predictions and their inability to live up to them at this point in the season. So far he's faced a few good coaches, such as Strong and Graham, and he's been the victor--so you've got to be happy if you're a Bruins fan.

Sam Barbee: He did a really good job of focusing his team on the conference opener. It seemed like UCLA was skating through the non-league schedule and almost got bit because of it. They certainly didn't try to skate past ASU, which is coaching.

Trace Travers: Even with struggling through their non-conference schedule, the Bruins came out in the second half of this game like gangbusters, and blew the Sun Devils out of the water. Though Mora has had o-line issues with his team so far, he had them playing a complete game against a quality opponent, which gives him a gold star in my book.

Roy Stenlund:  It seems like UCLA sleep walked through the first few games of the year. They woke up for the ASU game though. Sometimes a coaches toughest job is managing expectations, and UCLA's were sky-high at the beginning of the season. It will remain to be seen how they compete the rest of the way, but maybe Mora used those first games as teachable moments and the Bruins have now put it all together.

Have you revised your opinion of the Bruins this season after their performance in the Desert? Can they compete for the College Football Playoff? If not, where do you see them ending up and why?


Josh Estes: Prior to the season, I predicted UCLA to win the Pac-12 south, but lose to the Ducks in the conference championship. I still think that is the case, and it will bar them from entry into the College Football Playoff. Last night was the first time UCLA's offensive has looked explosive, but I am not sure if that was due to the horrid performance by the Devils or the Bruins finally getting it together (considering the Devils had more yards than the Bruins). If a good defense can keep Hundley in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm, I don't think the Bruins offense is nearly as effective.

Sam Barbee: I don't see any reason they can't win the Pac 12 South Division and win the next game and get into the playoff. If they win all their games, they're in, because they'll have beaten Oregon (twice?), Stanford, Washington and USC. If that's not playoff material then the system is broken already.

Trace Travers: If Hundley continues to turn it on like this, I have no doubts that they can make it to the Pac-12 title game. If they can find a way to take down whoever ends up there, Stanford or Oregon at this point, I could see them making it to the Playoff. They might be the Charlie Kelly of Playoff teams this year, so who knows how far they could go.

Roy Stenlund:  It's way too early to be talking about the playoff picture. It's almost comical the way everyone speculates about it. We won't know anything about how good any teams really are until about week 9 or 10.