UCLA Football 2010: A Midseason Review
OK, as of this writing the UCLA Bruins are officially at the halfway point of their football season.
Their record stands at three wins and three losses, with a 1-2 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference.
Being that I predicted a 6-6 finish at the beginning of the campaign, 3-3 is where most people figured the Bruins would be right now.
The one big highlight is, without a doubt, UCLA's 34-12 win over the Texas Longhorns in Austin, with Rick Neuheisel's team dominating on both sides of the ball. They burned the nation's then-second ranked rushing defense for over 250 yards on the ground; it was a game where everything went right.
The fact that Texas was the No. 7 team in the country made the victory that much sweeter.
Unfortunately, there were more low lights than highlights in Westwood this year.
The worst low for the Bruins was clearly the Bay Area schools, Stanford and California, outscoring UCLA by a combined tally of 70-7, which included the Bears routing the Bruins in Berkeley this past Saturday, 35-7.
In those two losses, the "pistol" offense was more like a peashooter as mistake after mistake was made in the form of penalties and turnovers.
Not to put the blame for the Bruins' woes solely on him, as the receivers have mostly been subpar to this point, but it's getting clearer by the day that Kevin Prince is the wrong man to quarterback UCLA, if they want to be consistent factor and a Rose Bowl contender in the Pac-10.
So far this year, Prince has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. His interceptions have outnumbered his touchdown throws (three), and though he has been hurt for part of the year, he seems to have regressed from 2009 as far as development.
The fact that Prince has thrown for less than 100 yards in each of his last three starts hasn't helped his cause, as he's shown that he does not have the arm strength to keep defenses honest. A change to sophomore Richard Brehaut, who did well against Washington State when Prince was out with a bad knee, may be necessary.
Jonathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman have been a two-headed monster at running back during the Bruins' three game winning streak earlier this year; UCLA is among the top 30 in the FBS in rushing offense.
However, Franklin continues to face fumbling problems; his fumble against Cal deep in the Bruins' territory this past Saturday led directly to a Bear score.
The defense has been up-and-down, shutting down opponents like Houston and Texas and getting burned in other games.
The thing that most concerns me in the second half of the season is that UCLA's schedule is chock full of tough teams like No. 17 Arizona, No. 24 Oregon State, and crosstown enemy USC.
If the Bruins thought they were in the frying pan with Cal and Stanford, they may well be in the proverbial fire with their next opponent on October 21st; the Oregon Ducks are merely the nations' top-ranked team (according to the AP poll) and are on a complete roll right now.
And to potentially add salt to the wounds, the game is in the toughest place to play in the Pac-10, Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Ducks put up 50 points on the Bruins; the way things are going, I expect the score to possibly be 59-10—or something like that.
As such, there are six games left to be played in UCLA 2010 season.
Whether they will result in victories or defeats remains very much to be seen.
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