Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 – Team #3

#3 – UCLA Bruins
Los Angeles, California
Rose Bowl (91,136)
2013 Record: 10-3 (6-3)

It is safe to say that UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora has the ball rolling at an accelerated pace after winning nineteen games in his first two season in Westwood, especially considering the previous staff only won 21 games in four seasons. A lot of prognosticators have the Bruins in the first College Football Playoff and I am drinking the kool-aid. UCLA has done nothing but get better in each season under Mora and return 17 starters from last season including starting quarterback Brett Hundley. The Bruins offense improved from just over 20 points per game in 2011 to almost 37 points per game in 2013 and Hundley is big part of that. The junior quarterback threw 24 touchdown passes and over 3000 passing yards as well as 748 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns on the ground. The Bruins also have a

Can Brett Hundley lead UCLA to the College Football Playoff?
Can Brett Hundley lead UCLA to the College Football Playoff?

stable of runningbacks including sophomore Paul Perkins and senior Jordan James who combined for over 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns but not to be forgotten, linebacker Myles Jack also rushed for 267 yards and 7 touchdowns. Hundley will have some good receivers to throw to in 2014 including converted quarterback Devin Fuller who is an absolute burner who will be the top target. The UCLA offensive line returns 4 starters from last year’s unit but are still very young with not one returning starter being a senior. The offensive line gave up 36 sacks in 2013 and that number MUST go down if the Bruins want to win their first Pac 12 Championship in 16 years.

The Pac 12 is known for wide open and high octane offenses and the fact

Myles Jack, college football's newest Iron Man.
Myles Jack, college football’s newest Iron Man.

that the Bruins held opposing offenses to less than 400 yards of offense per game and only 23.2 points per game is amazing to me. The Bruins do lose two top playmakers in Anthony Barr (65 tackles, 10 sacks & 10 tackles for loss) and Jordan Zumwalt (93 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss) but return 8 starters from that defense including the Pac 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, linebacker Myles Jack. Yes, that Myles Jack who rushed for 7 touchdowns on offense also recorded 75 tackles, a sack and 2 interceptions on defense; a true modern day ‘Iron Man’. The defensive line will have to stop up in 2014 as almost 70% of the recorded sacks last season have left and the Bruins will have to find a way to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. One way to do that will be with large men in the middle like sophomore Kenny Clark (6’3, 315 lbs) and Eddie Vanderdoes (6’3, 310 lbs). Sometimes the defensive line pressure has to protect an inexperienced secondary. At UCLA, it will be the other way around in 2014 as the Bruins return all four starters including safeties Anthony Jefferson (89 tackles, 2 INTs) and Randall Goforth (78 tackles). The Bruins secondary will be very good and provide more time for those defensive linemen to get to the quarterback.

Senior linebacker Eric Kendricks will try to lead the Bruins in tackles again in 2014.
Senior linebacker Eric Kendricks will try to lead the Bruins in tackles again in 2014.

UCLA opens the season on the road against the Virginia Cavaliers at Noon Eastern Time which will be a larger factor than most will want to believe. Two weeks later UCLA will face off against the Longhorns for the third time in five seasons but this time in Arlington, Texas, in AT&T Stadium. The Bruins open their Pac-12 conference schedule on the road, on a Thursday night at Arizona State, the team that defeated UCLA 38-33 last November. Two weeks later the Ducks visit Los Angeles and the Bruins are looking to snap a 5 game losing streak against Oregon. UCLA will be looking for revenge after getting run over in last season’s game for 325 rushing yards. November will be no cake walk for UCLA who open the month with an improved Arizona team at the Rose Bowl followed by a road game at Washington. After a bye week, the Bruins close out the regular season with two home games but also two of their toughest games of the season. First the hated cross town rival Trojans visit the Rose Bowl in the Battle for the Victory Bell which has been painted powder blue for the past two seasons. The regular season ends with the Stanford Cardinal on a Friday night which could be a preview of the Pac 12 Championship Game as it was in 2012.

The UCLA Bruins enter the 2014 season with a lot of promise but have beaten a team ranked in the top 20 only once compared to five losses. With all the starters returning, a top 25 defense and a potential Heisman finalist at quarterback, UCLA could be a team to make a lot of noise in the new College Football Playoff. The Bruins will be tested early with that long road game and early kickoff at Virginia and neutral site game against a rejuvenated Texas squad. Head Coach Jim Mora was a mediocre head coach in the NFL but has turned out to be exactly what college football needed in Los Angeles.

The Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl

Stay logged on to for Team #2 on Thursday and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #2: This team’s first head coach left the program to go prospect for gold in the Arctic. (I’m not even kidding. I couldn’t have made that up if I tried.)

#2 – ???????????????
#3 – UCLA Bruins
#4 – Ohio State Buckeyes
#5 – Alabama Crimson Tide
#6 – Auburn Tigers
#7 – Baylor Bears
#8 – Oregon Ducks
#9 – Georgia Bulldogs
#10 – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#11 – USC Trojans
#12 – LSU Tigers
#13 – Michigan State Spartans
#14 – South Carolina Gamecocks
#15 – Ole Miss Rebels
#16 – Wisconsin Badgers
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines

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