It might seem like the first season under Chip Kelly was an anomaly for a program as solid as UCLA, but there needed to be a bottoming-out redo of a season.
The Bruins haven’t come up with a winning season since 2016, but the 3-9 season under Kelly seemed a bit different. There wasn’t a crazy playing style that seemed to be ten steps ahead of everyone else. There weren’t the explosions of points to take over games and take away the will of the opponents.
There were three wins. But one of them was against USC, and all three came after mid-October as the team played better and better.
Close games are always a part of the deal, but UCLA lost three games by a touchdown or less over the last eight outings as the offense picked up its production.
This year, both lines are still going to be works in progress, but the skill parts are in place, the experience is there across the board, and Kelly has brought in his types of players to do what he wants.
It could be a mad experiment that never works, or it could all start to kick in with a tremendous breakthrough campaign.
It’s not an easy schedule to deal with, but UCLA will at least double its win total from last year and go bowling.