The Mighty Bruin's 2021 UCLA Football Prediction Thread
Time to see who is the best at predicting things!
Congratulations, you made it! College football is back this week, which means we’re less than a week away from enjoying UCLA football. Some of us will be back in the Arroyo Seco tailgating outside the Rose Bowl, while others will be occupying their lucky chair at home, but I think it is a given that all of us will be rooting for a UCLA victory of some kind.
To that end, it is time for us to come together and make our stone-cold lock picks as to how this UCLA season will go, and I’ve made it as easy as possible this year. Just fill out this simple form and submit it, and I’ll announce the winners at the end of the year. Will there be a prize? Who can say!
And now, for posterity’s sake, here is my personal breakdown of the schedule.
Week One: vs Hawai’i
The good news here is that this is the easiest opening game of the Chip Kelly era. Todd Graham definitely has the Rainbow Warriors on something that would be considered an upswing, but this is a team with major holes on defense that the Bruins are well-suited to attack, and an offense that is solid but should not give the UCLA defense too much trouble. That said, this is the kind of opponent that, if UCLA sleepwalks through this game, could make things extremely uncomfortable, and if the Bruins are winning an uncomfortable game against Hawai’i, then things could get very bad very quickly. Still, UCLA should win this game to go to 1-0.
Week Two: vs LSU
It feels weird to look at a week two nonconference game and state it can make or break your season, but it increasingly feels like Chip Kelly needs to win this game to have a shot at keeping his job into next year. This is, after all, everything he has been building up to in his UCLA tenure, and he sold the UCLA admin on the idea that he could coach guys up and have them beat superior talent. Well, here comes a team with superior talent that the Bruins should theoretically be able to beat in the coaching department. Plus, this is a primetime slot at home; no better time to sell your program than with a marquee win over a name opponent on national television. Unfortunately, LSU will be the most talented team the Bruins face all year, and I think that will be enough to hand UCLA the loss.
Week Three: Bye
Honestly perfectly ok with this early bye week. The Bruins are going to need it after the LSU game.
Week Four: vs Fresno State
The last time I talked about Fresno State on the internet, their fans went and found my personal Twitter account so they could DM me about how unfair I was to their city, so all I will say is UCLA should win this, and Fresno smells.
Week Five: @ Stanford
Look, UCLA should have won this game last year, except David Shaw was able to pull one last rabbit out of his hat and continue his stretch of dominance over the Bruins. But it really did feel like a last gasp in so many ways. The Cardinal saw huge attrition over the offseason, and just aren’t bringing in the same level of talent as they were prior. I honestly believe this team could sit in the bottom third of the conference, and this is a game UCLA absolutely has to win. A loss here and you could really justify letting Kelly go mid-season.
Week Six vs Arizona State
The big question here is how many Sun Devil assistant coaches will be available for this game. It’s not that Arizona State lacks for talent - far from it - but when you have an NCAA investigation that is already resulting in some assistants being put on administrative leave, that’s going to take a toll on you mentally. Plus, Chip Kelly is somehow 2-1 against Herm Edwards despite *waves at the program the last three years*, which isn’t something to take lightly. I think the Bruins win a close game here, but would not be surprised at a loss.
Week Seven: @ Arizona
Y’all, Arizona is going to be bad this year. I don’t know if Jedd Fisch is the answer in Tuscon, but with that roster it might be appropriate to call this Year -1. Of course, this is definitely the game he’ll have the team prepared for, especially after how his exit from UCLA went where he was never really considered for any position despite putting together a brilliant offensive gameplan in Josh Rosen’s last year. Still, take the Bruins winning this.
Week Eight: @ Washington
Folks, I’m not as bullish on the Huskies as many in the media are. I’m not sold on Jimmy Lake as a coach yet, and right now he’s very much riding the coattails of Chris Petersen’s best recruiting classes. That said, those recruiting classes were really good, and at home that should be more than enough to hand UCLA the loss.
Week Nine: vs Oregon
I have multiple thoughts on this. Let’s break them down:
Mario Cristobal is the best in the conference at bringing in high-end talent.
Mario Cristobal is not a great coach.
UCLA probably should have won at Eugene last year had it not tripped on its own feet multiple times.
UCLA was very fortunate to be in that game in the first place.
So do I think Oregon is beatable? Absolutely. Do I think UCLA will do it this year? Until Chip Kelly can prove he has the killer instinct needed to win these games instead of repeatedly letting teams back into them, I’m unfortunately going to stick with no.
Week Ten: @ Utah
Whoever put this part of the schedule together is a jerk. On the road in Salt Lake City is already a bad time, but coming off Washington and Oregon in back to back weeks? That’s just mean, and a recipe for a poor UCLA loss.
Week Eleven: Bye
Got a good feeling UCLA will win this one!
Week Twelve: vs Colorado
Karl Dorrell had an excellent first year with Colorado, taking advantage of a Buffaloes roster that still had some talent left over from the Mel Tucker/Mike MacIntyre years. But that talent is already departing, and the Buffaloes already got dealt a major blow when their presumptive starting QB was lost for the season to injury. With this game being at home and not the first game of the season, I have more faith that the Bruins can get the job done, but if they come out flat, especially after the bye week, things could get ugly.
Week Thirteen: @ Southern Cal
It is with heavy heart that I state that UCLA probably loses this game, simply because the secondary does not match up well with Southern Cal’s plethora of offensive weapons.
WHO AM I KIDDING UCLA WINS THIS GAME HANDILY EASIEST CALL OF MY LIFE.
Week Fourteen: vs UC Berkeley
I’m not sure what to make of Justin Wilcox’s tenure as head coach of the Golden Bears. I’m certainly of the opinion that he’s actually good at developing a defense, and UC Berkeley has had solid defensive performances despite lacking some of the talent of their North division peers. It’s also hard to blame him for last year’s poor showing, as his squad had to deal with health ordinances and a COVID outbreak, leading to a 2020 for UC Berkeley where the Bears never seemed to get out of the blocks. But he is starting to reach the point where results have to start mattering, and Wilcox is light on positive results at the moment. Unfortunately, I don’t see this year ending well for him either, which may result in his departure from Berkeley. UCLA should win this.
Final Record: 8-4