UCLA receives highest preseason AP poll ranking since 1998

Ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, UCLA will start the season with its highest preseason ranking since 1998.

Pegged as a dark horse candidate for the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Bruins matched the hype heaved on them 16 years ago, when voters also slotted them in as the country’s seventh-best team. They finished the year ranked No. 8 in the final AP poll, and were undefeated until season-ending losses at Miami and to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl Game.

UCLA is ranked above USC — slotted at No. 15 — in the preseason poll for the second year in a row. Last season, UCLA opened at No. 21 while the Trojans were No. 24. The crosstown rivals finished the year ranked 16th and 19th.

Florida State is ranked No. 1, and received all but three first-place votes. Those went to Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma, ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.

See the full Associated Press preseason poll below:

1. Florida State (57) 1,496
2. Alabama (1) 1,361
3. Oregon (1) 1,334
4. Oklahoma (1) 1,324
5. Ohio State 1,207
6. Auburn 1,198
7. UCLA 1,106
8. Michigan State 1,080
9. South Carolina 1,015
10. Baylor 966
11. Stanford 885
12. Georgia 843
13. LSU 776
14. Wisconsin 637
15. USC 626
16. Clemson 536
17. Notre Dame 445
18. Mississippi 424
19. Arizona State 357
20. Kansas State 242
21. Texas A&M 238
22. Nebraska 226
23. North Carolina 194
24. Missouri 134
25. Washington 130

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  • Charlie Bucket

    Always comparing to USC. We will never come close to USC, sure we may beat them here and there, but I think it’s fairly obvious that there really is NO COMPARISON.

    #TruthHurts

    • ProbationU

      Ah….fake Bucket from Phuket, Thailand. Such a pathetic loser. I don’t mind the trolling…that can be fun, but to try and impersonate another person is just weak. Sad, sad, sad….like the used Trojan you are hanging over the edge of the waste bucket.

      • rushdie

        The different writing styles give you away, fake bucket.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          Which Trojan fan is sad, lonely, and bitter enough to spend time imitating (badly) Charlie Bucket?

          (I guess a shorter list would be: Which Trojan fan isn’t sad, lonely, and bitter enough …?)

          Perhaps it’s the outed Joseph Way B. Lowe Normal.

      • Charlie Bucket

        That comment was INAPPROPRIATE!

        #TheFlagIsUp

  • Reformed Droog

    We lost to Wisconsin in the 98 Rose Bowl.

    • Jack Wang

      Oops, thanks. Dunno why I typed “Miami” twice.

  • Bruin 34

    Means nothing if we don’t win the Pac 12!!

  • Chey Tor

    National championship or bust … Now or never … Go Bruins!!!

  • VB

    Hey Jack, just a tip: If you are going to post a barrage of political/social commentary (e.g. Ferguson), maybe you should create a separate Twitter handle from your sports commentary profile. Either that, or remove the link to your Twitter feed from this blog. To be honest, it’s quite annoying coming here to read about UCLA football only to see a wall of political/social comments on the right sidebar. We come here to be entertained and escape the harsh realities of our world and society, even if for a short time.

    Plus, as Jay Leno once put it, when you are a public figure with an apolitical career as a comedian, actor, sports writer, etc, it is not prudent to isolate half of your fans (or readers) by injecting your liberal or conservative point of view alongside your work product.

    Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.

    • ProbationU

      Well said.

    • drakejr

      Well said and respectfully put.

      • VB

        Agreed. His job is to cover UCLA athletics, so when he blends together apolitical sports commentary with bitter, politically charged posts on the same Twitter feed, it makes it hard to compartmentalize our consumption of sports commentary and political commentary, which reduces the amount of readers and, more importantly, shines a bad light on Jack’s credibility and professionalism.

        • ProbationU

          And on top of that, he is not factually correct. First, his job is running a sports blog…which he seems a bit disinterested in doing on a regular basis. Second, his twitter feed was inaccurate and sloppy. All shots were not from the “front”. The fatal shot was into the top of the head. So, not only does his “take” on things not belong here, it is incorrect as well. Berkeley should have taught him better.

          • RepuBruin

            He came out *exactly* how Berkley wanted him to!

            But, more importantly . . . Go Bruins!!!

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            And a witness account that corroborates the officer’s acting in self-defense was unintentionally recorded at the scene. According to that witness, Brown taunted and charged the officer.

            (And that’s not inconsistent with Brown’s being caught on video moments before manhandling a store clerk.)

          • VB

            Would love to see Wang engage you on this since he so passionately abhors the Ferguson police dept.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            Thomas Jefferson advised: “In matters of power, then, let no more heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

            I understand human nature (I’ve got one, too), so I am one of the first people to advise a healthy distrust of those in power.

            I believe also that we should be fair to all involved. The facts are the facts. We should avoid drawing conclusions until we have them.

            (And there’s so much dishonesty and manipulation involved. Race-mongers, racists, and looters need to crawl back under their respective rocks and let things play out.

            But enough about politicians ….)

          • VB

            Unfortunately the DN prefers lazy, stone-stepping, entitled youngsters like Wang and Gold instead of hard working professionals like Dohn, Painter, or Melendez. It’s a shame.

          • ProbationU

            I don’t think anyone knows the facts of what happened. Hopefully, whatever the truth is will come out. However, this is a site for UCLA sports.

  • 92104bruinfan

    Man, I haven’t been both this nervous and excited for a season of Bruin football in a long time. Nothing is ever promised or guaranteed in a brutally tough Pac 12 conference, but if the Bruins stay healthy & focused, I like our chances. Go Bruins!

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      The difference between this Bruin program and past great ones is that before, no matter how talented the team was, no matter how badly they were going to blow out their opponent in a big preseason or bowl game, they always stumbled at some point. They never had the determination necessary to achieve greatness.

      Under Mora, I don’t get the sense that that will — or even can — happen. They might lose, but they’ll never be mentally-unprepared, careless, or flat. They’re going to fight to the end. That other team is going to have to beat them.

      • MPPBruin

        We’ll see if they can cut down on the penalties. It’s the marginal disadvantage that we keep putting ourselves in that kills drives and leaves points on the board.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          The improvements in talent, maturity, experience, and physical strength might be enough to overcome penalties of aggression.

          (Last year, quite a few flags were thrown only because the Bruins played harder than the other team. You don’t want to lose that spirit.)

          • MPPBruin

            I hope you’re right. There’s a fine line between playing hard and just doing stupid stuff that puts you in a negative situation. I’m not sure what the cultural balance is to get the best of both worlds.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            I suppose finding that balance is what makes a winner.

    • Dan Wayne

      If the Bruins stay healthy, Don’t be surprised if they go undefeated!!!!
      GO BRUINS!!

  • MPPBruin

    To be honest, I’m not exceptionally optimistic about this season. I feel like we’re overrated. We haven’t won a big game against a really good team yet. Maybe this is the year we get over the hump, but I’d feel better had we beaten Oregon or Stanford last year.I think we’ll be good, but I don’t think we’re as great as some people do.

    • Bruin 34

      I’m guessing you aren’t an insider at Bro. Last year we lost games due to injuries at o line and rb. The year before we lost the pac 12 championship because Fairbairn missed two fg’s. Not sure where you are getting your information from.

      • MPPBruin

        The coulda, shoulda, wouldas of sports. If only this, or if only that. The information I’m getting is results on the field. They need to win big games. I’d probably feel more optimistic this year had we beaten Oregon or Stanford but lost to a team like Arizona. We have yet to show that we can truly compete at the highest level. Maybe this is the year. I hope that everyone else is right and that I can eat crow come January.

        • Bruin 34

          I guess you were watching different games then most of us last year. Cause what I saw was a Ucla team starting three freshman on the O line and a 4th string rb at one point. That barely lost to Furd because of a receiver who slipped on 3rd down on his route that was wide open that resulted in a pick. And against an Oregon team we should have beaten had we had a healthy offense that was able to sustain drives. But maybe I was seeing something totally different. You are correct on one thing though. We have to win the big games.

          • MPPBruin

            Your basic point is that we’re good on paper. We have talented young players, who given a year of growth and progression should develop into better players. I agree with that sentiment, but the list of teams who had talent but never put it all together is long. Until we’ve actually performed the way we need to perform I’ll reserve some cautious optimism.

          • Bruin 34

            No. That’s nor my point. And trust me. After some of the seasons we’ve had I reserve optimism as well. To you can see it on the field and what Alosi has done with our players. They are all physically the most developed team we’ve had. They all look like NFL players physically. I hope we can put it all together this year though. The future looks amazingly bright.

          • MPPBruin

            I agree. The only thing this team has in common with the pre-Mora years is the helmets. Night and day difference. The present looks bright in addition to the future. It’s just that the margin for error in college football is razor thin. 3 losses would be disappointing for this team and it’s not like we have an easy schedule.

          • VB

            We are good on paper and on the field. We won 10 games last year with 3 freshman on our offensive line, and a linebacker as our best running back. Not sure why you keep implying that we haven’t lived up to our potential yet.

          • MPPBruin

            I don’t need to imply. It’s obvious that we didn’t live up to the potential because we didn’t win the games. Stop making excuses. Just show me the wins. That is all. I’m less interested in talent or potential than I am in the W.

          • VB

            Ummmm…. My point was that when you play 3 freshman on the line and have to resort to using a linebacker and defensive lineman for running backs, you aren’t necessarily expected to win games against solid programs like Stanford and Oregon. So, yes, we did live up to our TRUE potential last year. Oregon and Stanford were better, plain and simple. Checkmate.

          • MPPBruin

            I’m glad that you agree with me that Oregon and Stanford were the better teams last year. We were in position to win those games, but couldn’t pull it off because we had too many drops, penalties, miscues, etc. We got shutout by Stanford in the first half and crushed by Oregon in the 2nd of those games. Basically what you’re saying is that we can’t afford any injuries or we won’t have a realistic shot at beating those teams. I hope that’s not the case because we’ve been pretty injury prone on the offensive line in the last few years. Also I don’t think we’ve solved the running back problem yet. It’s still basically the same guys as we had last year.

            To be the best, we have to beat the best. Which we have not done yet. Maybe this is the year. I think it can be, but I think I’ll hold off on the 2015 national champs tattoo.

          • VB

            You make no sense. I’m the one being consistent here. I said Oregon and Stanford were better teams last year, WHICH IS WHY WE LOST TO THEM. In other words, WE LIVED UP TO OUR POTENTIAL because we beat all the teams we were SUPPOSED to beat. You are being logically inconsistent. You concur that Oregon and Stanford were better teams, yet you believe UCLA SHOULD have beat them last year. We beat everyone we were SUPPOSED to beat (minus ASU arguably).

            THIS year HOWEVER is a different story. We are a very good team ON PAPER, and since our teams on PAPER have generally translated into good teams ON THE FIELD under Jim Mora, I see no reason why we cannot beat Stanford and maybe even Oregon this year.

            Get it, Harold?

          • MPPBruin

            No. Here is what you are confusing. I think we were talented enough to win last year with the players who suited up. We didn’t win because we didn’t play well enough to beat those teams. Those teams are better than us because they proved it on the field, not because of a talent deficit. Your problem is that you keep conflating potential and performance. Your definition of how good a team is is based on how much talent they’ve stacked up. Mine is based on how many wins they’ve stacked up.

            I’m not saying that we cannot defeat Stanford or Oregon, but that we haven’t done it yet and these teams are improving too. They have a lot of talent, just like we do. Those teams have been better than us the last few years. You become better than them by beating them. In other words, earn it. Then talk.

            How is this hard to understand?

          • VB

            It’s clear I won this debate so let’s just call it a game.

          • MPPBruin

            Haha. Another failed argument. Good times though. What is a discussion board without discussion?

          • VB

            lol. Yeah just messing with you. Definitely want to see this site become more interactive again. It has been dead the past couple of years.This thread exploded though.

          • MPPBruin

            I might just continue playing devil’s advocate just to keep the threads alive. BN is too negative, and I think that many of us gravitate here to provide a more positive counterpoint. The problem is that the best boards have varying view points to keep the conversations lively.

          • Bruin 34

            Well said my friend. My point exactly.

          • Bruin 34

            I suggest you walk up to Mora and tell him that and let me know how it goes. We lived up to our potential even with three freshman starting at o line and a 4th string running back. Smh.

          • MPPBruin

            I bet he would say that it was a tough situation but we still had the pieces to win the game. I really hope our head coach doesn’t spend much time making the kind of excuses you are.

          • ProbationU

            Actually we were only favored in 6 or our 12 regular season games last year. We won all 6 that we were favored to win and won 3 as an underdog…Nebraska, Arizona and USC.

            The expectations are higher this year has Hundley should be better as well as the offensive line. The last 2 years have been prologue and the excitement this year is to see if we have actually arrived. We will see as the season progresses.

          • MPPBruin

            The tone in your 2nd paragraph basically represents how I feel. When I say that I’m not exceptionally optimistic it doesn’t mean that I’m expecting a 7-5 flame out. But that we haven’t “arrived” yet and we need to win the big games to show that we truly belong. We still have something to prove and it feels like some people are saying that we’re already on top.

          • Bruin 34

            Pieces? What pieces did they have that you mention exactly? I’m curious? Three freshman o lineman starting and 3rd string rb? Yeah. I’m sure every team could overcome that. From your comments you don’t seem to understand or know that much about football. So in theory. We could start 4 freshman at o line this year and still have the pieces to win the confrence and national title according to your comments. Smh.

          • MPPBruin

            What pieces? How about Hundley, Barr, Marsh, Vanderdoes, Evans. Were those guys any good? You seem to be writing off their accomplishments, focusing on the pieces we didn’t have rather than the ones we did. We had enough talent last year to beat Stanford. Instead we lost, for the 3rd straight time.

            Look, dude, I think we’re going to be good this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. But the thing that keeps me from going all in on this team is that we haven’t won the big game yet. Saying that we could have win if only this, this and this may make us FEEL better, but it doesn’t mean that we ARE better. The only way to be actually better is to win the games.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            Between Mora and Hundley, I don’t believe that this team can be a part of that long list.

            Perhaps I’m overly-optimistic, but I just don’t see this team being anything but incredibly mentally-tough, and that’s what the Bruins have never had. (In my lifetime, at least.)

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          I’m more encouraged by the fact that the Bruins don’t lose to the teams that they’re supposed to beat.

          And once they’re mature enough — the most freshmen playing anywhere last year — and healthy enough, they’ll find that killer instinct.

          The future is bright!

    • VB

      If you aren’t optimistic about this team, then you will never be optimistic about UCLA football. This is hands down the best football team UCLA has had since 1998. If we don’t get it done this year we probably never will.

      • MPPBruin

        I don’t accept this fatalistic attitude that says that a team only has one shot at success. If we keep this coaching nucleus together for a while I think that UCLA can be a perennial contender. I think the transition post-Hundley will be a big indicator of this program’s sustainability. I’m pretty optimistic about Rosen.

        • VB

          Okay, I never said this season was our “only shot at success.” What I meant was that this team is the best UCLA football has been in a VERY LONG TIME. We have a three year starter at quarterback and 16 returning starters. This is a formula for a very successful season. You are the one taking the pessimistic attitude, inferring that our team probably will not be that good this year without any substantiation other than, “they haven’t beaten Oregon or Stanford yet.”

          • MPPBruin

            Having not yet beaten your top competition is a pretty big deal, particularly since Oregon also has a 3-year starting quarterback returning. So does Stanford now that I think about it. Anyway, we’ll see.

          • VB

            You are probably the guy that calls Bruin talk after every win and still complains about how bad the team looks. Are you Harold from West Hollywood?

          • MPPBruin

            Nope. Just a realist. I’m not in the habit of spending money before I’ve gotten paid.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            (You’re both right.)

          • BruinBrock

            MPPBruin, I’m not at all concerned about having not yet beaten Oregon or Stanford. They have been the best of this conference the last few years. What concerns me more is losing to teams we shouldn’t lose to. That has happened nearly every year of my life, but it didn’t happen last year (unless you count a very good ASU team here, but we played them down to the final seconds). So if these Bruins are better than last year’s Bruins (and they are, it seems, significantly), then we are right on track to take over as the conference’s best team. Game on. GO BRUINS!

          • MPPBruin

            Beating teams that you’re supposed to beat only takes you so far as winning your division. To become an elite team, one with championship aspirations, you have to go above those expectations.

          • BruinBrock

            I disagree. Beating the teams you’re supposed to beat is exactly what great teams do. The objective is to become a team that’s better than everyone else. And if we truly are better, and we’re winning the games we’re supposed to win (i.e. not succumbing to complacency, hype, or over-confidence), then we’ll beat everyone else because we’re supposed to beat everyone else. We won’t allow ourselves to be surprised; we’ll prepare to play to our potential every game. Who cares if we didn’t beat Furd or UO last year? If we’re better than they are this year, we’ll beat them this year. We don’t have to beat one or both of them this year, but lose to Utah or Colorado, in order to have hope for next year. That makes no sense. Let’s run the table this year, because we have the potential, and now the mindset and talent, to do it this year.

          • MPPBruin

            Great teams beat the teams they’re supposed to beat AND beat the teams that are their peers. If we only beat the teams that we’re better than we’ll wind up losing in the championship game to Oregon. Yes, I do think that Oregon is better than we are at this point. I think UCLA can pull it off, but if I were making the odds in Vegas I’d probably pick Oregon.

      • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

        Except for Cade McNown to Danny Farmer, today’s team is hands-down better than ’98. That team had magic on offense, but they had no defense.

        Now, we’ve got barbarians on both sides of the ball, and Brett Hundley leading the charge.

        (And a coach who’s respected by his players.)

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      We weren’t there last year, but we are this year.

      (Barring catastrophic injury, of course.)