Weekly Q&A — 11/19/15 Answers

Q: How do you think UCLA will finish season? And which bowl will UCLA go to?

A: It’s hard to say at this point. I’ve covered UCLA since 2012, and this is probably as poor a feel as I’ve ever had for the team’s outlook. I could see the Bruins winning out, splitting, or losing out its final two regular-season games with little surprise at any outcome.

So, let’s break down the possible scenarios:

1) UCLA loses out. I think this would likely place the Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl.

2) UCLA splits. The Sun Bowl now has the fifth selection out of the Pac-12, which seems like a reasonable landing spot for a 7-5 team.

3) UCLA wins out. If the Bruins then also win the Pac-12 Championship, they would obviously be in the Rose Bowl. But if they lost that title game, I think they would get placed in the Holiday Bowl. The Alamo Bowl has the second selection out of the conference, but UCLA just played there last year.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most likely): What would you say UCLA’s chances were of beating Utah with Devontae Booker? What would you say UCLA’s chances are of beating Utah without Devontae Booker?

A: I probably would’ve given UCLA a 4 or a 5 before Booker went down. I’d move that up to 7.5 or so now. Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 11/12/15 Answers

Q: Which game do you think we have the best chance of winning and why: Utah, USC or rematch with Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship?

A: USC. The Trojans don’t present the same matchup problems that Utah and Stanford do, or the experience of actually having beaten a Jim Mora-coached UCLA team. It’s hard to imagine the Bruins playing at or near their absolute best for their rivalry game — especially if they’re coming off a loss in Salt Lake City.

Q: If Stanford propels itself into the playoffs, does the Pac-12 runner up lock up the Rose Bowl regardless of committee rankings?

A: I believe so. Here’s the relevant info from the College Football Playoff committee:

“Both participants in the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls are contracted outside the playoff arrange­ment (Big Ten and Pac-12 to Rose Bowl; SEC and Big 12 to Sugar Bowl; ACC to Orange Bowl against the highest ranked available team from the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame). If a conference champion qualifies for the playoff, then the bowl will choose a replacement from that conference. When those bowls host the semifinals and their contracted conference champions do not qualify, then the dis­placed champion(s) will play in the other New Year’s bowls.”

Q: Do you agree that the UCLA defense has been carrying more than its own weight over the last three games? They dominated Cal, were on the field most of the Colorado game, and recovered a fumble and three interceptions at Oregon State. Should we be concerned about the offense?

A: I’d say that the UCLA defense is playing better than expected given its myriad injuries. I wouldn’t say that it’s outperforming the offense at this point. Continue reading

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