Looking waaaaay too far ahead

Decided last night to take a look ahead to 2012, because with UCLA going 5-1 at home, I was wondering how much of that was the home-cooking, and how much of it was the competition, and how it lined up for next year.

Here’s the schedule:

Non-Conference
At Rice
Home Nebraska
Home Houston

Conference (not scheduled yet)
Home Oregon State
Home Stanford
At Washington State
Home Arizona
At Cal
At Arizona State
Home Utah
At Colorado
Home USC

In terms of the opponents, you would project wins over Rice and a Case Keenum-less Houston and a loss to Nebraska. We don’t know when the conference schedule will play out, so for the sake of argument lets take this year’s games and just flip them.

So there’s an abundantly beatable OSU at home, an Andrew Luck-less Stanford at home, an abundantly beatable WSU on the road, a wholly confusing Arizona team at home, visits to Cal and Arizona State (with Brock Osweiler), a home tilt with Utah (with John White), a visit to Colorado and a home matchup with USC (Barkley or not Barkley, that is the question).

POTENTIAL LINEUP in semi-projected order

QB: RSSR Prince, SR Brehaut, RSFR Hundley
RB: RSSR Franklin, JR Jones, RSSO James
WR: RSJR Evans, RSFR Lucien, RSSR Johnson
WR: SR Carroll, RSJR Marvray
TE: RSSR Fauria, RSSO Young, RSFR Nelson
F-Back: JR Barr, RSJR Thigpen
LT: SO Su’a-Filo, RSSR Bradford
LG: JR Ward, RSSO Yandall
C: RSJR Capella, RSFR Brendel
RG: RSJR Cid, RSFR Wysocki
RT: RSSR Baca, RSSR Downey

DE: RSSR Holmes, RSJR Graham
DT: JR Marsh, RSSR Carter, JR Epenesa
DT: RSSR Jones, RSSO Willis, RSFR McReynolds
DE: JR Owa, RSJR Tepa
LB: RSSO Kendricks, RSSO Olaniyan
LB: RSSR Larimore, RSJR Bowens, RSJR Golper
LB: JR Zumwalt, RSSR Allen
CB: SR Price, RSSR Abbott
S: RSSO McDonald, RSJR Mascarenas
S: SR Hilliard, JR Riley, RSJR McKay
CB: RSSR Hester, RSSO Jefferson, RSSO Sermons

P: RSSR Locke
K: RSSO Smith or ?

In my “projected” two-deep – and we really have no idea how advanced Brett Hundley is going to be next year, so I’m going to leave Prince and Brehaut ahead of him – that’s an average of 3.8 years of college football experience per player.

UCLA “projects” to have 13 redshirt seniors in the two-deep, 13 seniors or redshirt juniors, 14 juniors or redshirt sophomores and four sophomores or redshirt freshmen, which is a pretty good breakdown in terms of experience.

That seems like an eight- or nine-win team to me, at least. If you pencil in potential losses to Nebraska, Stanford and USC, and one slip-up game, that’s eight wins.

What do you think?

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  • Anonymous

    Coached by Rick Neuheisel……..Fail

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t you missing the most important piece of information–Neuheisel or no Neuheisel?

  • sandiegobruinfan

    I’ve had 2012 as the one season that comes along every so often where the schedule, experience, and depth align quite well for the Bruins.

    If the Bruins can punch out 9 to 10 wins, they can set a great tone for recruiting and an upswing in the program. If they stumble to a 6 win season, they’re right back to square 1.

    As for the schedule, I don’t see any opponent as a “can’t win” game…tossing the Texas debacle aside, UCLA tends to show up for big time home non conference games against the Nebraskas of the college football world. Also figure SC will be without Barkley if he leaves early for the 2012 NFL draft and the scholarship limits may start pecking away at their depth by the end of the 2012 season.

    All this said, the 2 anons above make a point…do you let RN & his staff take advantage of this opportunity or do you give a new HC and staff a chance to really hit the ground running? My guess is that a probable Vegas bowl berth, the prospects for a very good 2012, and Dan Guerrero not wanting to eat $1.25 mil in RN’s final year of a contract he gave to RN probably gets RN another year.

  • UCLA ’64

    I never look ahead to next season until this season concludes. Okay, so I do take a look at recruiting now and then, but that’s it.

    We don’t yet know how this year will end.

    Some things I know: UCLA has a young team, particularly on defense. UCLA has more depth than it’s had in years. UCLA has improved this season in many ways. I’m particularly encouraged by the improved quarterback play from both Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. Who’s the quarterback coach? He should get a raise the way he’s juggled those two players without burning Brett Hundley’s redshirt.

    I worry about getting a new coach. If that happens, we might be right back at square one with an unknown entity at the helm. Frightens me.

  • bruincheerleader

    i give crn his 5th year that is in his contract, and whether or not i like him, he is our coach next year…and that being said, i see UCLA winning 10 games…as mentined above the stars are aligning for one of those infrequent great years, or a massive dump, in which crn will be dumped as well if that happens…

    we beat Nebraska and only loose to either usc or arizona or asu or wsu &stanford…

    from my mouth to god’s ears…:)

  • Al Bruin

    Jon,

    10-2. Depth and experience.
    Plus coached by the great ?????

    Al Bruin

  • Anonymous

    How I see it…

    Non-Conference
    At Rice…Win
    Home Nebraska…Loss
    Home Houston…Probable win

    Conference (not scheduled yet)
    Home Oregon State…Win
    Home Stanford…Toss-up but I’ll say win
    At Washington State…Loss. We barely beat them at home and they have great QBs.
    Home Arizona…Win
    At Cal…Loss. Cant remember when we won there last
    At Arizona State…Loss. Cant remember when we won there either
    Home Utah…Toss-up but I’ll take a win
    At Colorado…Win
    Home USC…Loss. Again.

    I see a probable 7-5 there, at best. Also, how long can we keep losing to USC?? We also thought we would win 8 this year, look where we are. The bottom line is that under CRN, the team does not improve year to year, check the records.

  • highlander

    I think 8 wins is realistic and 9 wins is not out of the question. This is why we should bring back Rick Neuheisel. While the wins/losses seem similar to Karl Dorrell’s final season the talent level is clearly different. This is a really big deal. Neuheisel is not the greatest coach out there but he’s also not the worst and there is a definitely possibility that with continuity in the coaching staff we can turn the corner.

  • Neubian

    I see these facts coming up in a end-of-the-season meeting with the AD and neuhiesel. Depending on how the team finishes the year, this could be the most compelling arguement as to why he deserves another year.

  • Island Bruin

    Dont we get Wahington and Oregon next year?

  • Weasel of Westwood

    9-5 this year. And minimum 10 victories next. We’ve turned the corner.

  • Anon

    This is a odd projection. You project home losses to Furd and Nebby – two teams that will be either merely good (Nebby) or probably not very good at all (Furd loses a lot and will no longer have the Harbaugh halo effect). FYI, Nebby just lost a merely good UM teach 45-17. One game, I know. But they’re not all that.

    On the other hand, you implicitly assume we win all the road games (or all but one). I know those aren’t scary teams we face on the road, but neither were Arizona or Utah. And Cal is probably due for an up year (certainly more than Furd is). We suck on the road, but tend to perform pretty well at home, notwithstanding the Texas debacle.

  • Coach Rick Neuheisal

    No offense, Jon, but didn’t we play the same game this Summer with this year’s schedule and project 8 or 9 wins? Quit laying such heavy expectations on me.

  • Phoenix Bruin

    I think Torian White is a better RT prospect than Bacca. What is the status of Hasiak? If he comes back i think this will be one of the best O-lines we have had in a long time. At running back i have to go with Jones/Barr/James over Franklin. Not sure they wouldn’t better right now. Also, no way Brandon Willis doesn’t start next season.

  • Amillennialist

    Next year’s success — like this year’s — depends entirely on two things: Whether or not the coaches put their best players on the field and play-call to win, and whether or not those players play with the heart and energy we’re starting to see.

    Which team will the coaches field? The gutty, not-so-little-anymore Bruins, or the gutless — and clueless — ones?

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    Interesting Jon that you did this projection because last night after our win I was looking at the roster and also trying to look into the future.

    I like the direction our talent level is heading and with the experience and depth we should have next year, I am hopeful for a breakout season. Some terrible losses this year notwithstanding, we have improved this year as the season has progressed. As I said in another post, we would all have been happy before the season to be in a situation where we could win the South Division outright (even if USC were sanction-less) with a win next week, and this is where we are, so to anybody who says we have not made progress, well the record speaks otherwise.

    One thing that must not be forgotten is the cupboard was bare when CRN took over. It no longer is and as the younger players mature and we continue to recruit well, things will change for the better; in fact they already have. I am in favor of allowing CRN to finish out his contract next year and then re-evaluating after the season, which I hope will live up to its promise.

  • We’llGetEmNextYear

    It’s always next year with Neuheisel. The guy can’t coach. All he does is talk.

  • Gary72

    It amazes me how people still want to give RN another year despite the worst 4 year record in modern UCLA Football history.I think with a competent coach(not even a great coach, but on who the players respect…see Embree last night) your prediction could be right on..By the way, I think D.Jones is so dilusional that he will submit his name to the NFL…

  • Anon

    UCLA definitely plays Wash and Oregon, and not Wash St. and Oregon St. That’s two probable losses for 2 potential wins. And renders the forecast portion of this article completely different.

  • bruinbiochem06

    Our lineup for next year looks really strong. Too bad CRN will be kept around and have them under perform. Wake me up when the 2013-2014 season begins….

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/ucla Jon Gold

    No, UCLA definitely plays Washington State and Oregon State, with the sites flipped from this season.

  • Marc

    With Rick, lame-duck head coach, team wins 6 or 7 games. More anger and frustration from the fan base and looks to take a step backwards or two in the next season.

    With new head coach, team wins 7 or 8 games. The team looks prepared every week; the coach promotes players who are clearly better than their older counterparts, and the team responds with zeal. The team plays with determination instead of hope. The fan base starts to feel some excitement for the team, and the future looks bright because the team that plays sc at the Rosebowl is a much improved team than the team that fought hard, but lost to Nebraska earlier in the season.

    That’s the way I see it.

  • The Blur

    Great discussion on this thread.

    I think Hundley has to start next year. I feel like I’ve seen the Prince/Brehaut ceiling.

  • Bruin Gold

    I think if Rick is fired and the Bruins get a new coach, UCLA is going to go 7 and 5 or worse. Then the lack of continuity will hurt recruiting. Then UCLA will be losing for another 5 years or more.

    UCLA needs to keep Rick so tha the program will keep getting better players.

  • Marc

    @UCLA ’64 & Bruin Gold.

    I’m not sure if there is any sarcasm in your posts; if so, I apologize.

    It is the arguments that you both present as a reason for keeping Rick that frustrate most Bruin fans. Keeping him because you believe he has great head coaching attributes can be debated. But, keeping Rick around for fear of the unknown is absolutely terrible. Would you have not supported leaving Europe for the new world, for fear of the unknown? The type of argument that you present seems to fall inline with a general approach to life, fear of the unknown.

    I’m sorry, but you’ll have to get over that. That is a terrible reason to keep someone around or keep doing the same thing that doesn’t work. Look for parallels in your everyday life and see how that works. Who Moved My Cheese?

  • timmah

    D.G. will absolutely not fire Rick this year, he gets another year, period. I’ll eat my own shoes (the really dirty mudders) if that happens. Meanwhile, with the schedule falling as it does and all the returning experienced players I would seriously think anything less than 9 wins would be considered underperforming.

  • Lu Valle pizza

    I agree.

  • Anonymous

    wow, it didn’t really hit me until i saw this post that so many of our top notch recruits like carroll, m jones, owa, barr, thigpen, marsh, zumwalt, riley, etc. would be juniors/seniors and yet it doesn’t seem like our coaching staff has been able to develop a single one of them to be significantly better than they were their freshman years.

    as for predicting wins, in the incredibly unlikely event that we land a real coach like leach, meyer (who may already been going to ohio state), petersen, etc. i would predict 10 wins, although there isn’t a single game on that schedule that i don’t think is entirely winnable. however, if rick is back next year, which i’m betting he will be, i would guess 6 or 7 wins with an outside shot at 8 if we get lucky and have a bunch of calls go our way.

  • Anonymous

    Smith? What’s with the question mark? He looked to bounce back great in the San Jose st game and suffered a season ending injury. Is he not coming back? Or is the injury that serious?

  • Amillennialist

    If Neu is replaced by anything less than an elite coach, the team will show no immediate improvement (or worse), and recruiting will suffer.

    An elite coach means immediate improvement on the field and in recruiting.

    Unless, of course, Neu really has turned the corner.

  • cv

    7 to 8 wins next year max, then a doawnward slide after that