UCLA football 2015 season preview: Virginia Cavaliers

By now, most of you are probably jonesing for the start of college football season. Fret not — it’s the perfect time to start looking at each of UCLA’s upcoming opponents. Let’s start with the Virginia.

UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, Sept. 5 | Rose Bowl
12:30 p.m. PT, FOX

The skinny: Virginia is not known for a deep, proud football tradition. While the program has been closer to mediocre than truly bad over the last decade, this remains a team that has not won a bowl game since 2005, and one that has not won its conference since 1995.

Can Mike London, a perennial coaching hot-seater, finally notch his second winning season in Charlottesville? The 54-year-old has some very interesting bullet points on his resume, but his recent coaching career hasn’t offered him much to brag about.

London peaked early, debuting as Richmond’s head coach in 2008 by winning 13 games and the FCS Championship. He put the Spiders back in the quarterfinals the following year, after which Virginia poached him to replace Al Groh. He won four games, then broke through in 2011 with eight wins and an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He won ACC Coach of the Year, and earned a five-year extension.

The Cavaliers haven’t fared well since, slipping back to four, two, and five wins in the last three seasons. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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Myles Jack, Paul Perkins represent UCLA on Walter Camp watch list

UCLA tailback Paul Perkins ran for 1,575 yards to lead the Pac-12 in 2014. He is watch-listed for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA tailback Paul Perkins ran for 1,575 yards to lead the Pac-12 in 2014. The redshirt junior is watch-listed for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Both Myles Jack and Paul Perkins made the watch list for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

Representing UCLA among 48 other names, the linebacker and running back head into their junior season as arguably the biggest names on the Bruins’ offense and defense. The former is a versatile defender capable of matching up against wide receivers, while the latter was UCLA’s first conference-leading rusher in nearly 15 years.

Perkins is also on watch lists for the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards, while Jack is in the running for the Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Paul Hornung Award.

The Walter Camp watch list also included several other Pac-12 players: Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon and linebacker Scooby Wright III; Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan and linebacker Blake Martinez; USC linebacker Su’a Cravens and quarterback Cody Kessler; Cal quarterback Jared Goff; Oregon running back Royce Freeman; Utah running back Devontae Booker.

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UCLA running back Paul Perkins makes Doak Walker watch list

UCLA’s Paul Perkins, who ran under the radar for much of 2014, will enter the season as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award.

The Bruins’ talented junior was one of 69 names on the watch list to be college football’s top running back. Perkins ran for a conference-best 1,575 yards in 2014, but settled for an All-Pac-12 honorable mention behind four other tailbacks.

No UCLA player has ever won the Doak Walker Award, which was first handed out in 1990. The Bruins’ all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin was one of three finalists for the trophy in 2012.

Here are all the Bruins who have appeared on preseason watch lists this month: Continue reading

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UCLA to break ground on football, basketball practice facilities

UCLA will break ground on its new football and basketball practice facilities in August, less than two years after fundraising first began.

An official ceremony will be held on Thursday, Aug. 27 for both the Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Basketball Center, west of Spaulding Field and southwest of Pauley Pavilion. Football and basketball head coaches Jim Mora, Steve Alford and Cori Close will be present, as will donors Casey Wasserman and Mo Ostin.

“This is confirmation that UCLA will continue as the premier intercollegiate athletics program in the nation while remaining a force to be reckoned with well into the future,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. Continue reading

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