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"What if" for UCLA
OUT OF SYNC: Cal defensive back Darian Hagan (Crenshaw HS) nearly intercepts this pass as the Golden Bears added another Pac-10 loss to UCLA's resume.Â The wrong questions were answered for the Bruins
By Jason LewisSentinel Staff Writer
Remember when the UCLA Bruins were 3-0, on the verge of being ranked in college football's top 25? The "ifs" were being tossed around.
If they can beat Stanford they'll be looking good heading into home games against Oregon and Cal.
If their defense can continue to play great they can compete for the PAC 10 title.
If their passing game comes around to match their running game then they will be tough to beat.
If they can get past Oregon and Cal then they can really give USC a run for the PAC 10 title.
Well, did anybody look at the "ifs" on the flipside?
What if they lose at Stanford?
What if they go on to lose to Oregon and Cal?
What if they start the PAC 10 season 0-3?
What if their passing offense never gets on track?
What if their good defense finally has a let down?
None of the positive "ifs" happened, but all of the negative "ifs" happened.
Three straight losses to open the PAC 10 season, and those games were not even all that close.
The defense had fueled this team the entire season, but this past week against the Cal Bears the defense was pretty much a no show. The passing offense finally shows up as quarterback Kevin Prince threw for 311 yards. Where has that output been all season?
But those passing numbers did not really mean that the passing offense was really effective. UCLA was trailing for most of the game so they had to pass the ball just to try to catch up.
UCLA ended up losing the game 45-26.
For a third straight game UCLA's rushing defense was ran all over. Cal's Shane Vereen ran for 154 yards and Jahvid Best ran for 102 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown run.
The week before that Oregon's LaMichael James rushed for 152 yards, and the week before that Stanford's Toby Gerhart rushed for 134 yards against UCLA.
UCLA needs to turn this season around in a hurry, but the schedule might not allow that. They travel to No. 22 Arizona this Saturday. After that they have some winnable games heading into the USC game.
At this point the only thing UCLA fans can really hope for is six wins, which will make then bowl eligible. Not a very good bowl game, but at least they'll be able to attend all the great New Year's Day parties.