By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
UCLA is 1-0 and in first place in the Pac-12 South. But with lackluster wins over San Jose St. and Oregon St., nobody believes that this team is going anywhere.
USC is still on probation, so they were not playing for any bowl games, but they were playing for some sense of pride. Running the table would be a way of sticking it to the NCAA. But a 43-22 loss at Arizona St. shows that this still isn’t anything close to Pete Carroll’s Trojans.
Both of these teams are a mess, and it does not look like it will get any better.
For UCLA, when they play good opponents they lose and they look bad, and when they have won it has been a close win against a bad team.
A bad San Jose St. team had UCLA tied at 17 in the 4th quarter before the Bruins won by 10 points, and they had to grind out a win last Saturday against Oregon St., who earlier this season lost to Sacramento St., who is a Division I-AA team.
UCLA is in first place in the Pac-12 South after one game, but nobody is paying attention to that because of who they have played and how they have looked. And with a trip to No. 6 Stanford this Saturday, nobody expects UCLA to be in first place for very long.
That game has blowout written all over it. The only common opponent between UCLA and Stanford is San Jose St. UCLA beat them 27-17, while Stanford beat them 57-3.
UCLA is going to have to shock the college football world to pull out a victory on Saturday, but if they can, which is a pretty big if, they’ll be looking pretty good with winnable games against Washington St., Arizona, and Cal coming up on the schedule.
But lets be real, the chances of UCLA coming home with a win are not good at all, and chances of Bruin fans screaming for a head coaching change for another week are highly likely.
UCLA has seemed to shut down the passing game, well at least that is what they did against Oregon St. They have speedy wide receivers who can make big plays, but without a quarterback who can get them the ball, they decided to run the ball 49 times and only pass it 12 in their victory.
If that is going to be UCLA’s game plan, then they are not going to beat too many teams down the line.
As for USC, there is nothing special about that team. Arizona St. is a pretty good team, but nothing special either, and they ran USC off the field in the second half last Saturday.
USC turned the ball over all night (two interceptions and two fumbles), and their defense still looks pedestrian, as they allowed 169 rushing yards and they did not force any turnovers. Most of those rushing yards came from running back Cameron Marshall, who rushed for 141 yards (which accounts for nearly half of his rushing yards on the season) and three touchdowns (he entered the game with only two.)
Third down efficiency was horrible on both sides of the ball for USC. They were 1-of-9 on offense, while allowing Arizona St. to convert 6-of-12 third downs.
The way USC is playing, Stanford and No. 9 Oregon will be looking to wipe them out later this season.
USC should not have a problem against Arizona this Saturday at the Coliseum, but the way they played Saturday night, it might be a tough game, and so will games at Cal and at Notre Dame before they host Stanford.
Last year USC finished 8-4. This year they might struggle to reach that mark.
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