UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Stanford

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (5) runs past UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams (1) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (5) runs past UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams (1) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ conference opener: Stanford.

UCLA vs. Stanford

Saturday, Sept. 24 | Rose Bowl

2015 in review

Stanford capped off the 2015 season with another Pac-12 championship and a Rose-Bowl rout demolition of Iowa. Business as usual for the Cardinal in recent years. Stanford ran all over UCLA on Oct. 15 in a 56-35 victory at Stanford Stadium that still stings for UCLA players. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 243 yards as UCLA gained only 181 total yards on the ground as a team. Josh Rosen was sacked three times and threw two interceptions as Stanford led 56-20 after the third quarter. Continue reading

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UCLA moves up to No. 22 in AP poll, USC and Utah fall out

Josh Rosen might have been right after all.

More than a month ago, after an ugly 56-35 loss at Stanford, UCLA’s freshman quarterback promised a rematch in the Pac-12 Championship. On Saturday, the No. 13 Cardinal clinched the Pac-12 North with a win over Cal, while the Bruins moved to a first-place in their own division by beating then-No. 18 Utah.

That game bumped UCLA back into the AP poll at No. 22, while dropping the Utes out of the rankings. Utah had been ranked third in the country a little over a month ago.

USC is also no longer ranked after a 20-point loss at Oregon, which moved to No. 18. The Trojans and the Bruins will play for the Pac-12 South title on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

No. 20 Washington State is the only other ranked team in the conference.

Here’s the full AP poll: Continue reading

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UCLA and USC set to kick off at 12:30 on ABC/ESPN2

UCLA and USC will end the regular season with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, broadcasting on either ABC or ESPN2 depending on the region.

The winner of the Los Angeles rivalry will clinch the Pac-12 South and advance to the conference title game on Dec. 5 against Stanford. The Bruins and the Trojans are both tied with 5-3 records. Utah is technically in a first-place tie as well, but was eliminated from the race after losing to UCLA, 17-9, yesterday.

This will be the fourth time in five weeks that the Bruins have kicked off a game before 2 p.m.

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Three thoughts on UCLA after a blowout loss at Stanford

UCLA’s 56-35 loss at Stanford last night exposed even more of the Bruins’ flaws. The game story is here, and below are some more thoughts on what happened at Stanford Stadium.

1. Was this UCLA’s worst loss under Jim Mora? The game ended less than 24 hours ago, so there’s certainly some temporal bias to account for here. Still, I don’t remember seeing an uglier outing by these Bruins.

The 49-26 loss to Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl would be at the top of the conversation, but that — like losses to then-unranked Oregon State and Cal the same year — can be chalked up in part to first-season growing pains. Back-to-back losses to Stanford and Oregon in 2013 were thought of as part of UCLA’s developmental process.

But Thursday night? That felt more damning, another brick in the wall keeping the Bruins on the side of “good” rather than “great” — the side of nine-win seasons rather than playoff berths. UCLA’s eight-game losing streak to the Cardinal is now its longest to any opponent, surpassing the Bruins’ seven straight losses to USC from 1997 1999-2005. Losing 31-10 at the Rose Bowl last year, when Stanford had a down season, stands as a major missed opportunity to get over the hump.

2. Can the defense be repaired? Errors by the offense (Josh Rosen’s pick six) and special teams (Christian McCaffrey’s 96-yard return) dug UCLA into an early hole, but what truly did the Bruins in was their porous defense. Continue reading

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