UCLA vs. Stanford: First Look + Bowl Scenarios

UCLA football is on top of the world right now. Not on top of the polls, mind you — No. 15 in AP and No. 17 in the BCS standings — but who honestly cares about that right now? Certainly not Jim Mora, who hammers in the “one game at a time” philosophy with relentless efficacy. Every single player on the roster has absorbed that mindset, and they’re headed to the Rose Bowl if they win out.

Vegas opens with the Cardinal as 1.5-point favorites. Flip a coin.

Why Stanford will win: Start with the defense that held Oregon below 40 the first time all season, and to its lowest point total since Nov. 13, 2010. Linebacker Shayne Skov looks like he never tore his ACL. This is far and away the biggest test for UCLA’s offense.

Stanford also has a redshirt freshman quarterback its own. Kevin Hogan isn’t close to the player Brett Hundley is, but he’s plenty capable in his own right. Keeps plays alive with his feet and doesn’t make costly mistakes. Also, this is a team that should have extended overtime against now-No. 1 Notre Dame, only to be thwarted by a poor call. (Although Stepfan Taylor’s four straight first-and-goal runs do speak to uninspired playcalling.)

Why UCLA will win: Picking against UCLA gets harder with each passing week. Hundley has been poised regardless of circumstance, and can do everything from eluding sacks to zipping fourth-and-long completions. There’s a reason USC defensive tackle George Uko compared the quarterback to Vince Young. Lane Kiffin said the Trojans missed 23 tackles on Saturday, and 12 were attempts on Hundley. Johnathan Franklin is 131 yards away from breaking Karim Abdul-Jabbar’s single-season rushing record. The defense has issues, but can make big plays in crucial spots. And special teams? Killer in the past two weeks, what with the bevy of blocked punts and kicks to go along with Jeff Locke’s automatic leg.

***

Right now, the most likely scenario is still the Bruins in the Alamo Bowl, which has second pick of the Pac-12 after the Rose Bowl. If UCLA loses to Stanford on Saturday and again in the Pac-12 Championship: the Cardinal would go to the Rose Bowl while Oregon — assuming it beats Oregon State — still gets an at-large BCS bid. If UCLA beats Stanford, then loses to the Ducks, the conference gets just one BCS bowl team. That leaves the Bruins, again, with the Alamo Bowl.

Which, by they way, might include West Virginia.

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  • boog

    so what happens if ucla beats stanford and then beats oregon/stanford?…still go to the alamo? just asking…

    • http://twitter.com/thejackwang Jack Wang

      End of the first paragraph said Rose Bowl if they win out. Although they could also lose this weekend and still get there. Just need to win Pac-12 title.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.gee Ron Gee

        Are you in Brooklyn this week, Jack? Didn’t see an article in today’s Daily News about the game tonight. Looking forward to two monster games from the Bruins.

      • BruinAZ

        So if we beat Stanford, then we play Oregon in Autzen for P12 championship if they beat Oregon St, correct.? If they lose to Oregon St, and we beat Stanford then we play Stanford for the P12 in Palo Alto. If we lose to Stanford, then we play Stanford in Palo Alto for P12 championship, correct? Is there any scenario where we can play in the Rose Bowl for the P12 championship? If not, I prefer playing Stanford for P12 championship in Palo Alto (although a rematch with Oregon sate would be nice, wish it were possible). Win or lose this week, we play in Autzen or Palo Alto the following week. Correct me if I am wrong. Go Bruins….Go Beavers this weekend!!

        • Hogsman

          If we beat Stanford and OSU beats Oregon, then we host Stanford for the title game. Stanford would be tied with Oregon and OSU with 2 losses, but has beaten both of them. We would host because we would also have 2 losses but would have beaten Stanford.

    • EncinitasBruin

      I think this is the scenario: Winner of the PAC 12 gets either the Rose Bowl or a trip to a BCS bowl, if qualified. BCS takes 10 teams for the 5 BCS bowls, which means if UCLA beats Oregon and Stanford, they would most likely move from #17 in the BCS to at least #10 in the BCS rankings. Please someone correct me or elaborate if that’s a little off…

      • sam

        If UCLA wins in TWO weekends against either Stanford or Oregon, they will automatically go to the Rose Bowl (regardless if they beat Stanford this coming weekend) as the winner of the Pac-12.

        If they win this week, and lose the following week, it depends on who they play the following week. If they play Oregon, Oregon might be going to the national championship, in which case the Rose Bowl will select an at-large bid (but most likely prefer a pac-12 team to maintain those ties) which UCLA would hopefully get. If the Rose Bowl goes with a different team (i.e. Stanford, or Notre Dame if they lose), then UCLA is going to the Alamo bowl.

        However if they play Stanford again in two weeks and lose, they will be going to the Alamo bowl.

        Jack is correct in that more scenarios than not play out in UCLA going to the Alamo bowl.

        HOWEVER, it is entirely in UCLA’s hands. If they win in two weeks they go to the Rose Bowl. Period.

      • kiriba08

        i believe the Rose Bowl game is a BCS bowl game.

  • boog

    i see…thanks for clearing that up…
    i guess my real question is why is it most likely that they are going to alamo bowl?why do you automatically think that all these losing scenarios are going to happen?

    dont mean to be critical, but you could have just offered all the different scenarios as to what could happen in the first paragraph. heck you could have even stated that your opinion was that what you wrote was going to happen. but you go on to say that what the “most likely scenario” is going to be as a fact…or “most likely.” without reason.

    like i said i dont mean to be critical, but at least give ucla some kind of respect. to me what you wrote was a backhanded comment against ucla whether intended or not. ucla has a big win against sc and you already write they are going to lose without hesitation or reason.

    “picking against ucla gets harder with each passing week”…i know this is supposed be a complement, but it really is another backhanded comment.

    to me it says that you pick against ucla every week and you are wrong so it is getting harder to do so. this is what im talking about. i get that you are not a fan of ucla. thats fine, but at least be objective…

    then again, you said we were going to lose to sc and we won. now you say we are going to lose to stanford twice and oregon as well so…nevermind…. keep up the good work :)

    • kiriba08

      Stanford has an awesome front 7 on D. Should be interesting to see how Mora & staff try to deal with that.

      Our D is not particularly good and neither is Stanford’s O, so I’m expecting the total combined score to be unnder 50.

    • nycfan

      I dont mean to be critical, but let me write the most critical post I can…jk.

      I dont think Jack was attempting to throw in cryptic backhanded digs at UCLA in writing his post here, or any post really. Guy is just trying to report and offer any insight he has; whether his stuff should be heralded as the second coming or whether it leaves some wanting is immaterial. He certainly is not masterminding an elaborate and sophisticated conspiracy to insult the fans in the most subtle and underhanded manner. In fact, if you feel that way, why read on? Plenty of sports blogs that need patronage…

      I appreciate the posts Jack. Its nice to hear from those that have more access to the players and coaches than the common folk. I also like that the writer of this blog is not a fan. I think it makes for better opinions and editorials; I think that Dohn exhibited this the best – and we all kept coming back for more.

    • grave soul

      I agree. I noticed the same subtle disregard for the Bruins by J. Wang–even though they’ve been playing their hearts out. It’s OK to be critical, but the lack of objectivity is what bothers me.

  • Peter

    UCLA controls its destiny. Oregon needs our help.

    Scenarios with possible outcome for upcoming game vs. Stanford:

    1. UCLA beats Stanford. Oregon beats Oregon State. Pac-12 champ game is UCLA v. Oregon in Oregon.
    2. UCLA beats Stanford. Oregon State beats Oregon. Pac-12 champ game is UCLA v. Stanford at UCLA (Rose Bowl).
    3. Stanford beats UCLA. Oregon beats Oregon State. Pac-12 champ game is UCLA v. Stanford in Stanford.
    4. Stanford beats UCLA. Oregon State beats Oregon. Pac-12 champ game is UCLA v. Stanford in Stanford.

    If UCLA plays Oregon for Pac-12 champ game and Oregon wins, there is a chance (not sure if very big) that Oregon goes to BSC National Title Game and UCLA gets Rose Bowl.

    If UCLA beats both Stanford next week and whoever the following week for Pac-12 title, we are guaranteed Rose Bowl. I don’t see any scenario for us playing in any other BCS bowls.

  • kiriba08

    Bowl Game…
    Even if we don’t make it to the Rose Bowl, we will probably end up in the Alamo Bowl (against Texas?) and that will be a MAJOR improvement over the toilet bowls that UCLA has barely edged into in the last few years.

    But, the best is yet to come…look for major improvements for UCLA next year (especially with Hundley having a year under his belt, and the LB’s should be a force next year) and I think Mora & staff will recruit well (hopefully some top DB talent).

    Getting a new top notch QB recruit is also a real need (nothing against Jerry Neuheisel, he has a real head for the game, but his arm strength is a real drawback). If Hundley goes down near term, the Bruins are in trouble.

    • drakejr

      They don’t need another QB recruit this year. TJ Milweard & Fuller are both fine QB backup options. Maybe another year or two out.

      • kiriba08

        Fuller is an excellent athlete, but does not have the size to be a good QB going forward (I know CJM has told Fuller & his dad that he will be given the chance to compete for the QB spot next year, but Fuller is a multi-faceted guy that can help the Bruins more in other ways).

        Milweard…who knows??? It’s all about how he fits into the offensive system…as obviously Printz and Brehaut do not.

        Time will tell

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.hersberger Mark Hersberger

    I’m having a really fun time chatting during the Ucla-G’town game. Oh, wait, there is no chat because this blog sucks.

  • EncinitasBruin

    Joe Fauria needs a nickname. I suggest the Jolly Blue Giant.

  • Jack Wangs

    Jack! FANTASTIC coverage for the basketball game today. I absolutely love the work you’re doing with this blog. Cannot give you enough props for the hard work you’re putting in to this!!

    As far as this write up, I’ve got to say it was one of the BEST written stories I’ve read since Dohn. You are easily surpassing all of our expectations. Keep up the good work.

    JW

  • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

    Jiminy Mora, I love this guy!