Is it finally the year of the Pac-12?
The west coast sent a copious amount of players to the NFL Draft in 2015, but next season still remains a question as to who will enjoy being crowned the champion of the Pac-12 and, with that, a possible playoff bid, and a possible National Championship berth.
As for the UCLA Bruins, the buzz seems just a bit different this year than it has been in recent years.
Even outside the state of California, the public has not been hesitant in raving about the Bruins with many fans and analysts alike sliding the powder blue jerseys up their top 25. Many believe that this is the most talented UCLA team in many years.
Let’s dig a bit deeper inside the numbers to decide whether this team has a legitimate shot in a tough conference, or if UCLA will merely play pretender.
11- UCLA’s rank in regards to 2015’s recruiting class
This was the game changer right here. Settling in at No. 12, the Bruins ousted such schools as Michigan State, Florida, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Miami, and Oregon en route to a near top ten finish.
The amount of youth (especially at the skill positions) combined with some already-present playmakers should have UCLA raring to go in 2015.
Topping the list was Bellflower, CA native Josh Rosen, the No. 12 player in the 2015 recruiting class. With Brett Hundley immediately gone, the Bruins did a swell job at potentially finding their quarterback for the next handful of years.
However, that may not be the case for the upcoming season.
Head coach Jim Mora has let it be known that he’s letting the competition at QB ride out whether it be Rosen or three of the others: Asiantii Woulard, Mike Fafaul, or Jerry Neuheisel.
As if we did not hear the phrase “character issues” enough this recent week during the NFL draft, you’ll probably hear it a lot more regarding Soso Jamabo, the UCLA signee who is expected to contribute to the running game.
He was arrested in late April on a series of minor charges.
Okay, enough of the pessimism. UCLA landed a 6″4′ defensive end in Keisan Lucier-South, a quick athlete off the edge.
The offensive line got some needed pieces with Josh Wariboko, Fred Ulu-Perry, and Andre James, all 4-stars.
Then, they landed Cordell Broadus, a highly-touted wide receiver out of Nevada.
3- number of notable road games for UCLA in 2015
I’m actually leaving Oregon State out of this one as I believe the Bruins will outmatch the Beavers in most facets of the game, but still, Stanford, USC, and Utah should pose a few problems, especially noting that UCLA has not figured out the Cardinal defense, failing to score four touchdowns in a string of seasons.
Southern Cal may have their best team in a while, and possibly the most efficient quarterback in the conference, so while the Bruins have rebuilt some pieces of the puzzle, we’ll quickly find out if they’re contenders.
Myles Jack- no, not a number, but you have to insert him somewhere in this piece
The Pac-12 linebackers will probably be headlined by Arizona’s Scooby Wright, but Jack’s name should be inching near that company, as UCLA’s got a guy who should continue to turn heads in 2015.
A hybrid RB/LB, Jack was named the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year in the conference his freshman year, as he recorded two interceptions, two sacks, 267 rushing yards, and eight total touchdowns.
The most recent year saw Jack presented with an All-Pac-12 Second Team Award.
He’s not the biggest guy in the world, nor is he the most physical player in the country, but a team that’s on the rise needs to lean on the guys that have been there before.
The question: to buy or sell?
To be honest, I have no clue.
With Brett Hundley at the helm the past couple of years, I never believed in this team. I almost hated the Bruins.
I thought Hundley was overrated. He could never really win the big game and I felt like everyone hyped the team up to drastic measures.
In a conference that can be such a crapshoot in 2015, I’m sticking by the sidelines on this one. The offense really needs to gel and, while they bring in pieces, it’s difficult to make assumptions on how good they’ll be.
I believe this is the year of the Trojan, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bruins vie for a championship in the conference this year.
I’m not one to take the easy route here, but UCLA resembles one large question mark for me.