Sports are a cruel, cruel, thing.
UCLA gets your hopes up and you think they’ve turned the corner but then reality smacks you in the face and you lose 47-30 to Arizona. It’s make or break time for the Bruins against the Oregon Ducks, and all the pressure falls on an abysmal defensive unit.
I feel like a broken record but, if UCLA wants to make a bowl game then their defense has to be at least somewhat decent. They gave up 605 yards to Arizona! That is absolutely insane and if that continues then quite frankly they don’t deserve to be in a bowl game. Jaleel Wadood, Adarius Pickett, and Kenny Young all haven’t been good enough this entire season; part of it is poor coaching and part of it is simply player ability. Oregon isn’t the offensive juggernaut that they use to be but neither was Arizona or Memphis or Stanford or Texas A&M. The bright side is that Oregon has looked awful on offense in the last two weeks. They only scored 10 against Washington State and only seven against Stanford. Now this doesn’t mean anything because UCLA has one of the worse defenses in the nation but something has to give in this situation and I am leaning towards Oregon’s offense coming back to life.
The offense isn’t off the hook either. Josh Rosen had his worst game as a UCLA Bruin against Arizona. Three interceptions against anyone is awful but when it happens to Arizona that is just another slap in the face. We’ve learned that UCLA can’t rely on the defense stopping anyone, this leaves Rosen in the difficult situation of either scoring every drive or losing. Oregon’s defense has looked as porous as UCLA’s. If you’re a betting man, I’d bet the over no matter what it is. Despite throwing three interceptions, the offense still managed 30 points with a rare 100-yard game from Bolu Olorunfunmi. In the preseason, I couldn’t talk more about how UCLA has to establish the run. They’ve finally managed to do it on a consistent basis but now their defense is vomit inducing.
If UCLA wants to make a bowl game, then this is the kind of game they have to win. Their next three games are at Washington, at Utah, home for Arizona State, USC and home for Cal. Are there two more wins in that group of games to even have a chance at a bowl game? It’s going to be extremely difficult for Jim Mora and company to manage and if UCLA doesn’t make a bowl for the second straight year then we might as well wave goodbye to Jim Mora.
I’m out on this team, I was as optimistic as anyone before the season but they haven’t shown any improvement defensively and the offense can’t be relied upon to score 40 points a game. Maybe if the defense can force turnovers then they’ll have a chance but if it becomes a shootout then I am giving Oregon the edge. 50-34 Oregon Ducks victory.