What expectations does UCLA football face in 2015?

UCLA isn't facing the same outside expectations it did last season, Jim Mora said during Pac-12 Football Media Days on July 30, 2015. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff)

UCLA isn’t facing the same outside expectations it did last season, Jim Mora said during Pac-12 Football Media Days on July 30, 2015. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff)

During Pac-12 Media Days last week, Jim Mora acknowledged the weight outside expectations — something he had spent much of last season trying to block out, albeit somewhat unsuccessfully.

“It’s hard to do, especially when you’re dealing with these young men that are so influenced by social media and have so much access to information and what is being said about them,” the UCLA coach said. “It’s hard to maintain that focus. But we’ve got to strive to do that. It’s not easy, but it’s our goal. If we can do that, we’ll be okay.”

What exactly has been the national buzz about the Bruins so far? UCLA was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 South, with just two voters slotting them as conference champions. Here’s a look at what some other sources thought.

» Like the Amway Coaches Poll, Sports Illustrated has UCLA at No. 14 in their preseason rankings.

Last year, coaches picked the Bruins as the No. 7 team in the country, while SI had them at No. 5.

» The Big Lead polled 27 media members who cover college football to get a sense of the 2015 season. A couple of interesting notes on UCLA:

— The Bruins received three votes to make the College Football Playoff. That puts them behind Ohio State (a unanimous pick with 27 votes), Auburn (18), TCU (16), Baylor (10), USC (6), Alabama (6), Oregon (5) and Notre Dame (6). Continue reading

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UCLA ranked seventh in preseason USA Today coaches’ poll

UCLA’s hype shows no sign of slowing down.

The Bruins are ranked seventh in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll — matching up with the Vegas odds that came out last week.

That puts the team behind Ohio State and ahead of Michigan State, last season’s respective Orange Bowl runner-up and Rose Bowl winner.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Oregon is ranked fourth overall behind — in order — Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma. Stanford and USC are ranked 11th and 15th, while Arizona State and Washington round out the conference at 18th and 25th.

See the full Amway/USA Today coaches’ poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA falls to No. 14 in polls despite beating UW

Despite a 41-31 win over Washington, UCLA fell a spot to No. 14 in the latest Associated Press poll — switching spots with No. 13 Michigan State.

The Spartans moved up after a 41-28 win at Nebraska that clinched a share of the Big Ten Legends title.

The two teams also made the same switch in the USA Today coaches poll.

USC, still tied with the Bruins for second in the Pac-12 South, moved back into the AP poll to No. 23 after its 20-17 upset of Stanford. It was the Trojans’ first win over the now-No. 10 Cardinal since 2008.

The full rankings after the jump: Continue reading

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UCLA ranked No. 21 in preseason Coaches Poll

For the first time since 2007, UCLA is ranked in the preseason edition of the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Voted by coaches at No. 21 nationally, I think the Bruins are in more or less in right spot. UCLA has the upside to make a BCS bowl, but could also struggle a bit as it faces a brutal road schedule without all-time rushing leader Johnathan Franklin.

The Pac-12 has five teams in the top 25, tied for second with the Big Ten. The SEC, unsurprisingly, leads with six teams, including two-time defending champion Alabama four votes short of a unanimous No. 1.

USC and TCU are the only ranked teams who had 7-6 records last season.

1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
3. Oregon
4. Stanford

5. Georgia
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
8. Clemson
9. Louisville
10. Florida
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
13. LSU
14. Oklahoma State
15. Texas
16. Oklahoma
17. Michigan
18. Nebraska
19. Boise State
20. TCU
21. UCLA
22. Northwestern
23. Wisconsin
24. USC
25. Oregon State


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