Pac-12: UCLA Bruins
No chance that Chip Kelly has two bad years in a row.
He stepped in, went really, really, really young, and the program went through the ugly growing pains it had to get past to have any hopes of turning into a Pac-12 powerhouse.
It might have been an inconsistent run, and the Bruins lost four of their last five games, but it started to click. Freshman QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson got his feet wet, Joshua Kelley turned into a solid running back, and now the offensive pieces are there to build off a strong finish.
There were plenty of transfers this offseason, but ten starters return on the defensive side, four starters are back on the offensive front, and Kelly is getting the parts in place to do what he needs.
The non-conference schedule – at Cincinnati, San Diego State, Oklahoma – is a bear, but that should toughen the Bruins up for the conference slate.
There’s no Oregon or Washington to face from the North, but going to Washington State, Arizona, Stanford, Utah, and across town to USC won’t be a breeze. Even so, expect the offense that put up 34 points in the win over the Trojans and 42 in the shootout loss to Stanford to be far steadier.
Going from 3-9 to 9-3 might be a stretch, but Bruin fans should start to see the future success start to kick in.
– UCLA Schedule & Analysis