Previewing The Southern Branch: UCLA Roundtable

We can only hope that Jim Mora brings UCLA just as much success as the man who hired him.

TwistNHook: This one is in Memorial, so we got a chance to win this one. Last year's UCLA game was perhaps the nadir of the Tedford era. And to think I wanted to play them every year, even if we are in different divisions. What was I thinking? How do you see this year's UCLA game going?

Kodiak: If this game were happening in LA on a regular year, I'd be concerned. I think that ucla has dramatically underperformed relative to their talent for years. Mora is an upgrade at coach and he's assembled a strong staff. Switching to a pro-style offense and defense is probably a better fit for their personnel. Ironically, this might actually help us since we seemed utterly unprepared to stop their slow-moving zone-read last year. However, with the memories of last year's humiliating loss and the home crowd at Memorial, there's no way our guys shouldn't be up for this game. I think the two defenses will be tough, but our offense has more playmakers. We may not blow them out as they deserve, but I see this one as a decisive Cal victory.

Atomsareenough: Oh, UCLA. Are they good? Are they terrible? I'll say both and somewhere in between, but your guess is as good as mine. Lately we seem to be able to beat them pretty handily at Memorial and sometimes have difficulty in the Rose Bowl, so hopefully that bodes well for us this year. On the other hand, these guys did go to the Pac-12 Championship Game last year!!!! So, there's that.

TwistNHook: I think I speak for us all when I say, "I miss Neuheisal!" Is Mora gonna finally wake this perpetually sleeping giant. Ragnarok: Man, I hope not. I know we've had more than a decade of UCLA perpetually underachieving relative to their talent level, but I'm not nearly ready for that streak to end just yet.

Ohio Bear: I expect Ucla to come out with a lot of enthusiasm, much like Cal did in 2002 during Tedford's first year. Will that translate into a 7 or 8 win season? Who knows? But I have to admit a feeling that Jim Mora Jr is a guy who might awake the sleeping giant that I've long thought Ucla to be. Remember that's a lot coming from me: I hate Ucla with the fire of a thousand suns.

Avinash: Not making any predictions (I don't know enough about the Bruins to venture a guess), but anyone remember the last time UCLA beat Cal at home? 1998, a year where we beat Oklahoma and USC on the road while scoring 3 at home in the Big Game. That is the Twilight Zone season of Cal football. It's also the last year UCLA won a conference championship. If UCLA competes for a Pac-12 championship, they can beat us at home. Do they have the players? I really think Brett Hundley could be a special QB (although he might struggle in his first season), and that defense can be one of the fiercest if coached right. They showed us that much last year. That's all you really need to beat anyone, but unfortunately for us we were the only ones who seemed to get their best effort last year. What would be the keys to victory against the Bruins?

Ohio Bear: That 1998 game: Cal was surprisingly competitive that day against a highly potent Ucla offense. Cal allowed only 28 points, which was considerably below Ucla's average coming into the game.

UncleSam22: I think the key to victory against UCLA is going to be about the same as every other game Cal plays...limit turnovers and wear teams down. I feel like this Cal team has good depth and if they can just keep from making terrible decisions and mistakes, then they ought to be competitive in most games. Also stop the running QB...but I think we all realize that. As for Mora Jr, I do think that he is going to revitalize the program down south. It's definitely a scary proposition for sure, but given the location and appeal of LA, plus the fact that he just seems like one of those "cool" Pete Carroll type of coaches will probably translate not only into getting much better recruits, but I think he'll be able to coach them into a decent team too.

LeonPowe: The running QB? They're not still running the pistol - at least that's what I understand. They are going back to more of a pro-set. . .yes?

UncleSam22: Even if they aren't running it anymore, I'm still having terrible flashbacks to that miserable game last year, so let's just stop the QB from running for good measure.

Ohio Bear: We kept throwing the ball to Tevin McDonald last year. We need to...you know...not do that anymore. If we had taken care of the football, we would have still had a chance to win despite Prince running for a thousand yards. So if there's a key to victory, we can start right there: protect the football and make sure we end every possession with a kick.

HydroTech: I don't think UCLA is going to be a great team in 2012. Since we are playing them at home, I think this game is one of those "should win" games for Cal. I expect our defense and Maynard to put up a much better performance this year. There should be no excuses for us to lose to such a middling Pac-12 opponent, at home, and who runs a pistol offense (which we should be fully prepared for since we see this type of offense a lot). Maynard should perform a lot better too. I'm guessing this could be a 38-17 win.

Avinash: Just to clear things up, UCLA won't be running the pistol this year. Noel Mazzone was hired as the offensive coordinator, so we should see more of what ASU ran last year, i.e. a pass-heavy spread offense. Does that change the outlook from any of you on this game?

Norcalnick: Not really. If anything, it makes me more confident. I certainly never got the sense that any of UCLA's QBs would excel if they were asked to throw the ball more frequently. Maybe redshirt freshman Brett Hundley is that type of guy, but that seems like a big burden for a player who has yet to take any snaps.

TwistNHook: Score predictions? Norcalnick: 37-20. Standard UCLA at Memorial fare.

Solarise: Not sure if we should be expecting Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut this year @ QB for the Powder Blue Bruins squad. Brett Hundley may be the best choice for Mazzone though. He has been the least contaminated by Neuheisel and the Pistol. Mora Jr has some personnel to run a spread attack though. Shaq Evans and Ricky Marvray are capable. Devin Lucien, Jordan Payton, and Kenny Walker might just be what the Southern Bears will march out for empty sets. The key to the game will be baby Bruins' line countering Bears' front 7. If our Golden Bears can knock down Prince/Brehaut/Hundley's consistently and disrupt his rhythm then there is little to fear from the former South Section pseudochamps in Memorial. Cal 42 UCLolA 20 avenging our 2011 loss

Atomsareenough: 38-21 Bears UCLA has a lot of talent but I don't see them being offensively cohesive enough yet to score consistently on us. Last year was really fluky with all the turnovers and stuff. We'll take care of business.

Berkelium97: I have no idea what to expect in this game. New coach, completely new offensive system, all those years of great recruiting classes--whether this will be the same ol' UCLA remains to be seen. I can't see them topping the Bears in Memorial, though. Cal 34, UCLA 21

Ohio Bear: I tend to agree with Berkelium97. We have had our way with Ucla at home for a long time, but I don't have a sense of what these Bruins are. If anything, I have a feeling that Jim Mora will energize them. Does that mean they beat us in our domicile? I will say no but it will be closer than the last few Berkeley meetings. Cal 28, Ucla 21.

UncleSam22: I think it'll be close, but Cal pulls out the win. Cal 31-UCLA 24.

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