Weekly Q&A — 10/22/13 Answers

Q: Let’s say UCLA wins the South again: If we were to play UofO a second time, and they beat us and went undefeated, advancing to the National Championship game, would we automatically be selected to play in the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 runner-up?

A: Not automatically, and not likely. First of all, UCLA must win nine games and be among the top 14 teams in the BCS rankings to qualify for an at-large selection. The Bruins would have at least three losses if it loses to Oregon twice, so staying that highly ranked would be difficult. Also, no more than two teams from the same conference can make it unless two non-champions somehow end up No. 1 and 2. UCLA would need two close losses to Oregon, and be a more attractive candidate than Stanford assuming both are at-large BCS qualifiers.

A top-12 team from the MAC, C-USA, Mountain West or Sun Belt would also automatically qualify and take up a BCS bowl slot. Fresno State (Mountain West) and Northern Illinois (MAC) are both undefeated and currently rank No. 17 and 18, respectively. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 12 UCLA at No. 2 Oregon

No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 2 Oregon (7-0, 4-0)
Location:
Autzen Stadium, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Last meeting: An already-fired Rick Neuheisel coached his final game, a spot in the 2011 Pac-12 Championship game that came by way of a USC postseason ban. UCLA lost 49-31 against No. 8 Oregon, as LaMichael James rushed for three scores — tying LenDale White with 52 career touchdowns.

He scored one more in a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, taking sole possession of second in conference history.

Key storylines: UCLA is trying to rebound after its first loss of the season, a 24-10 loss at Stanford in which its offense struggled as much as ever in the Jim Mora era. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley talks about Bruins’ offense, O-line


Early this season, Brett Hundley couldn’t talk enough about UCLA’s resurgent offensive line. Since then, two starting tackles have gone down — one (Torian White) lost for the season with a broken ankle, the other (Simon Goines) still uncertain with an injured left MCL.

The quarterback’s most-used line now is talking about what he needs to do to help the five guys in front of him.

“I’ll keep my eyes down the field no matter what’s happening, what’s going on back there,” Hundley said. “I’ve just got to trust that they’re going to get the job done and do my part.”

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Stanford 24, UCLA 10: Takeaways from the Bruins’ first loss

No. 9 UCLA was one of five top-10 teams to lose on Saturday, its 24-10 loss at Stanford dropping the Bruins for the first time this season. You can see read the game story here, but here are a few thoughts from the game that knocked Jim Mora’s surging squad down a peg.

1. The offensive line is in trouble. Already without left tackle Torian White (broken ankle), UCLA also lost tackle Simon Goines (MCL) and backup Conor McDermott (dislocated shoulder) in the third quarter. The severity of their injuries is not yet certain, but Goines returned for a few snaps and couldn’t get into his stance properly. He had his left knee wrapped after the game and was on crutches. In fall camp, it was his right knee that was hyperextended.

Xavier Su’a-Filo would likely be the team’s best left tackle if he spent all his practice reps there, and will likely start getting more regardless of what happens with Goines and McDermott. If the pair are out for any extended amount of time, then the All-American guard will move out to protect Brett Hundley’s blind side. Continue reading

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What to watch: No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford

UCLA needs a win over Stanford to firmly seize a spot on the national stage. Can the Bruins pull it off?

UCLA offense vs. Stanford defense:

Stanford’s defense isn’t quite what it was used to be, giving up 22.2 points per game after allowing 18.8 over the past three seasons.

On its way to three straight BCS bowls, the Cardinal finished either first or second in the conference in scoring defense, and No. 9 nationally during the 2010 campaign. This year, the team is fifth in the Pac-12. However, much of that is due to the rest of the conference ticking up: Four teams in the league are holding opponents to below 20.0 points per game. Only four Pac-12 teams had done the same in the previous four years combined. Continue reading

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Phil Steele names eight Bruins midseason All-Pac-12

In the mood for a round of meaningless-but-encouraging awards? Have some midseason All-Pac-12 team mentions, courtesy of college football guru Phil Steele.

Steele named eight UCLA players to his all-conference squads, with outside linebacker Anthony Barr and left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo leading the way on the first team. The pair also landed on Steele’s midseason All-American team, with Barr earning a first-team nod and Su’a-Filo a second.

Center Jake Brendel and linebacker Eric Kendricks both made the midseason second team. Receiver Shaq Evans and running back Steve Manfro joined the pair there, but earned their spots for contributions at kick and punt return.

Quarterback Brett Hundley ended up on the third team, behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. Defensive end Cassius Marsh rounded out the UCLA names on the list.

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Quarterback Brett Hundley: ‘These games mean a lot’


UCLA coach Jim Mora wants his team to prepare each week the same way, but even quarterback Brett Hundley said upcoming trips to Stanford and Oregon hold a little more significance.

“These games mean a lot,” Hundley said. “They really do. As far as team, and legacies and stuff like that — these are big-time games that everybody will look back on. We’ve just got to come ready. We’ve got to come ready.”

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UCLA 37, Cal 10: Quarterback Brett Hundley


Brett Hundley’s 410 passing yards were a career high and the third-best total in UCLA history, but the redshirt sophomore left several plays on the field. He underthrew running back Damien Thigpen on a wheel route that likely would turned into an 80-yard touchdown, and also missed a wide open Shaq Evans in the end zone.

“There is a lot left on the field,” Hundley said. “We can get that much better. It’s rare (to have 410 yards be average), to say the least, but that’s really how much I push myself and how much these coaches push me to be great.”

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UCLA 37, Cal 10: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone


UCLA’s offense put up 37 points against Cal Saturday night, but could have easily cleared 50 had it not stuttered in the red zone. The Bruins converted all five opportunities for points, but only two turned into touchdowns.

“He missed a couple of throws down there in the goal line that just changed the whole game around,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said of quarterback Brett Hundley. “Three of them down there where we had to settle for field goals. I kind of got out of sync a little bit on our third-and-short (play calls).”

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