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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The Countdown

No. 58: U.C.L.A.

It’s the first two weeks of any a coach’s tenure, and it’s the most important two weeks of his tenure: hiring time. It’s absolutely vital. It trumps every single endeavor from that point forward, because every move he makes from those weeks on is directly impacted by the hires he makes over the first 14 days, give or take. How were Jim Mora’s first two weeks? Mora hit it out of the park: His new staff, hired in the weeks after he was named as Rick Neuheisel’s successor on Dec. 10, is so good that it overwrites the most looming concern surrounding his arrival — that Mora, after decades in the N.F.L., knew nothing about the college game. Well, Mora knew enough to hire the right man at nearly every spot on his new staff, and that’s all that counts — for now, at least. And while U.C.L.A. is knee-deep in a painful learning curve, one that will continue in August and through much of this season, Mora brought on the sort of staff that will help him bridge the gap between N.F.L. lifer and F.B.S. neophyte.

Conference
Pac-12, South

Location
Los Angeles

Nickname
Bruins

Returning starters
14 (7 offense, 7 defense)

Last year’s ranking
No. 72

2011 record
(6-8, 5-4)

Last year’s
re-ranking

No. 81

2012 schedule

  • Aug. 30
    at Rice
  • Sept. 8
    Nebraska
  • Sept. 15
    Houston
  • Sept. 22
    Oregon St.
  • Sept. 29
    at Colorado
  • Oct. 6
    at California
  • Oct. 13
    Utah
  • Oct. 27
    at Arizona St.
  • Nov. 3
    Arizona
  • Nov. 10
    at Washington St.
  • Nov. 17
    U.S.C.
  • Nov. 24
    Stanford

Last year’s prediction

I’m not optimistic. To me, this is where U.C.L.A. is slated to land: outside of bowl eligibility, in the five-win range, though I don’t think four is anywhere close to out of the realm of possibility. It all starts at the top, and Neuheisel’s hold on this ship is very, very unsteady. From top to bottom, I’m really not happy with the direction of the program as it currently stands: U.C.L.A. seems to be at best treading water, which is a troubling trend when compared to a conference full of teams on an upswing. Is there a silver lining? Of course. As mentioned earlier, another down season might lead to a coaching change, which I feel might be the best thing for the program. Now watch U.C.L.A. go 4-8 and Dan Guerrero decide to bring Neuheisel back for one more go.

2011 recap

In a nutshell Beyond the ugliness of the season itself, U.C.L.A. will suffer the ignominy of being the answer to the following question: Which B.C.S. conference program was the first to send a sub-.500 team to bowl play? The Bruins were the lucky — or unlucky — recipient of an N.C.A.A. waiver that allowed them to reach bowl action despite dropping the inaugural Pac-12 title game to Oregon; it’s fitting that the Bruins also lost in postseason play, and doubly fitting that the loss came to Illinois, the only other team in the F.B.S. who could match U.C.L.A.’s level of dysfunction. The losses were terrible, the wins only slightly less so, but the endless low point of the season was waiting for Neuheisel’s inevitable dismissal. But when it came — that was a nice day for U.C.L.A. football.

High point Three wins over four weeks in October and November. Those three victories actually pushed the Bruins’ Pac-12 mark to 4-2, leaving a glimmer of hope that the team could actually win the South division outright, not take home the trophy due to U.S.C.’s postseason ban.

Low point A 50-0 loss to the Trojans on the second-to-last weekend of the regular season. Embarrassing? Almost unfathomably embarrassing. Even when U.S.C. was its best under Pete Carroll — though some wins were eventually vacated — the Bruins never looked so inept against their in-city rivals.

Tidbit U.C.L.A. is 17-1 over the last five years when holding an opponent to less than 20 points. The lone outlier came in 2007, when the then-DeWayne Walker-led Bruins fell to B.Y.U., 17-16, in the Las Vegas Bowl. It wasn’t just about the defense; the Bruins also ran the ball well in these games, averaging 207.0 rushing yards per game. In comparison, U.C.L.A. averaged 113.2 rushing yards per game over the program’s remaining 47 games over the last five years.

Tidbit (running game edition) More on the U.C.L.A. running game. The Bruins are 78-3-1 since the start of the 1976 season when rushing for 250 or more yards as a team – with wins in 21 straight games. The exceptions to the rule: losses to Stanford in 1977, Stanford again in 1979 and to Kansas State in the 1995 Aloha Bowl, and a tie against Tennessee in 1985.

Tidbit (U.S.C. edition) This fall, U.C.L.A. will host U.S.C. on the second-to-last Saturday of the regular season, ahead of Stanford. This is only the fifth time since 1967 that the Bruins and Trojans have met on any other weekend other than the regular season finale. One of these dates comes with an asterisk: U.C.L.A. played Miami (Fla.) to cap the regular season in 1998 – some would say this was the last time the Bruins were nationally relevant – after the pair’s earlier date, in September, was postponed due to inclement weather. The other four instances: from 2001-2, 1980 and 1970. In 1980, U.C.L.A. capped the season with a game against Oregon State in Tokyo – the famous Mirage Bowl.

Former players in the N.F.L.

29 WR Terrence Austin (Washington), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (Baltimore), LB Akeem Ayers (Tennessee), DE Dave Ball (Tennessee), RB Kahlil Bell (Chicago), LB Kyle Bosworth (Jacksonville), DE David Carter (Arizona), DT Nate Chandler (Carolina), RB Derrick Coleman (Minnesota), DE Kenyon Coleman (Dallas), S Tony Dye (Cincinnati), WR Taylor Embree (San Diego), K Kai Forbath (Tampa Bay), TE Cory Harkey (St. Louis), OT Michael Harris (San Diego), DE Justin Hickman (Indianapolis), S Chris Horton (New York Giants), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville), P Chris Kluwe (Minnesota), TE Marcedes Lewis (Jacksonville), K Justin Medlock (Carolina), S Rahim Moore (Denver), TE Logan Paulson (Washington), DE Brian Price (Tampa Bay), WR Nelson Rosario (Carolina), WR Matthew Slater (New England), CB Alterraun Verner (Tennessee), WR Matt Willis (Denver), LS Christian Yount (Cleveland).

Arbitrary top five list

New staffs (assistants only) in F.B.S., 2012
1. U.C.L.A.
2. Ohio State.
3. Texas A&M.
4. Arizona.
5. North Carolina.

Coaching

Jim Mora (Washington ’84), entering his first season. This isn’t merely Mora’s first college head coaching job, but also his first taste of college football since 1984, when he spent one season as a graduate assistant under Don James at his alma mater, Washington. Mora was a ham-and-egg backup safety at U.W. from 1980-83; a year later, less than six months out of college, he was leaning the ropes from a staff that includes James, Skip Hall, Gary Pinkel, Jeff Woodruff, Jim Heacock and Chris Tormey. Mora spent only season at U.W. before leaving for the N.F.L., where he spent the next two-plus decades. From 1985-88, Mora was a quality control assistant for the San Diego Chargers. After serving as the Chargers’ defensive backs coach from 1989-91, Mora moved into the same position with the New Orleans Saints (1992-96) and the San Francisco 49ers (1997-98), eventually becoming the 49ers’ defensive coordinator in 1999. After five years, Mora was named the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons: he went 26-22 over three seasons, from 2004-6, dropping from 11-5 to 8-8 to 7-9, and was relieved of his duties early in 2007. After two years as an assistant with the Seattle Seahawks, Mora was named as Mike Holmgren’s successor in 2009; he lasted one year and five wins with the Seahawks, and was out football, doing broadcast work, when he was tagged by U.C.L.A. to resurrect a down-sliding program. Four things that Mora brought to the table from day one: a crack staff, hard-charging recruiting, optimism and accountability. You could say – though it’d be a bit of a stretch – that U.C.L.A. had each of the first three under Rick Neuheisel; the Bruins never had the last, however, and it’s a sight for sore eyes.

Tidbit (coaching edition) Meet the new staff. Mora’s offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, will update U.C.L.A.’s offense for the new-look Pac-12, where offense rules the day, while having a tremendous impact on the program’s perennially underachieving quarterbacks. Mazzone piloted a top 25 offense at Arizona State last fall, helping turn Brock Osweiller into a high N.F.L. draft pick. In defensive coordinator Lou Spanos, Mora brought in one of the most knowledgeable 3-4 technicians in football. After 15 seasons on the staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Spanos spent the last two years with the Washington Redskins, helping that franchise implement its 3-4 look. Two more assistants come off the N.F.L. ranks. Linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Ulbrich spent the last two years as a special teams assistant with the Seattle Seahawks. Wide receivers coach Eric Yarber arrives from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he spent the last two seasons in the same capacity.

New running backs Steve Broussard has spent the last five seasons in the Pac-12, with the last two under Mazzone at Arizona State. In Adrian Klemm, Mora might have hired the best recruiter in the country. If not the best, Klemm, U.C.L.A.’s offensive line coach, is certainly on the short list. On Twitter, Klemm greets every new commitment with the same refrain: “8 CLAP!!!!!” He eight-clapped 12 times from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31 — 96 claps, by my count. Mora took cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin away from Washington, which was a three-pronged blow: Martin was no longer at Washington; Martin was at U.C.L.A.; and those players considering the Huskies because of Martin were now considering the Bruins. Mora also retained two of Neuheisel’s assistants in Marques Tuiasosopo, who moves from his post as an intern in the U.C.L.A. football offices to tight ends coach, and Angus McClure, who will swap special teams duties for work with the defensive line.

Players to watch

R.I.P., Pistol offense – Rose Bowl, 2010-11. You won’t see that ill-fitting, mismanaged, cringe-worthy offense again; instead, Mazzone will implement a spread offense based on the following tenets, in brief: up-tempo, no-huddle, multiple-receiver, attacking, stretching, multiple. As you saw at Arizona State last fall, Mazzone’s system does place tremendous responsibility in the hands of his quarterback, and the offense does tilt towards the pass. But while it differs from other spread systems – Urban Meyer and Rich Rodriguez lean towards the run, for example – the basic philosophy remains the same. Mazzone will want U.C.L.A. getting in and out of the huddle fast, if huddling at all, and the offense wants to put as much stress on a defense as possible.

What U.C.L.A. needs to keep in mind is that this system not only has proven results but that it also plays much better with the Bruins’ overall talent. U.C.L.A. was never, ever a good fit for the Pistol. With this team’s speed, the Bruins should embrace a scheme that puts talented and dynamic skill players in space. What’s the best thing about Mazzone’s offense? While it’s complex in many ways, he’s said in the past that he’ll enter a game with only 30 or 35 calls on his play sheet. Offense, simplified. That’s great news for the Bruins.

While the ongoing competition at quarterback has grabbed headlines, it’s not the only position left unsettled as the Bruins prepare for fall camp. U.C.L.A. still needs to find answers along the offensive line, which transitions from a more physical mindset in the previous system into Mazzone’s offense. The Bruins have lost three linemen since the winter, including one, would-be sophomore Cade Yandall, who was projected to grab the starting role at left guard. With Mora playing his cards close to the vest at every position, it’s hard to say what sort of impact Yandall’s departure – concussions ended his career – has on the entire line. What you can say, however, is that it will force U.C.L.A.’s hands in terms of depth, and that it likely means that one of three right guards will swap sides.

The Bruins also have a decision to make with senior Jeff Baca, the team’s best lineman: right guard or left tackle, where he started last season? Bet on guard. U.C.L.A. was able to transition Baca inside thanks to sophomore Xavier Su’a-Filo’s return from a two-year mission. In addition to the fact that he started at left tackle in 2009, Su’a-Filo isn’t as flexible as Baca; the latter can play inside, and I’m not sure if Su’a-Filo could do the same. With junior Greg Capella moving from left guard to center, where he started one game in 2011, U.C.L.A. needs to fill two spots: left guard and right tackle.

The options at guard include JUCO transfer Alexandru Ceachir – one of those raw, potential-laden late arrivals to football – and juniors Alberto Cid and Chris Ward, both of whom are listed behind Baca at right guard. Right tackle is the bigger issue: U.C.L.A. has senior Brett Downey, but the staff seems willing to toss the reins to one of two redshirt freshmen, Will Oliver and Torian White.

This line will be blocking for senior Johnathan Franklin (976 yards and 5 touchdowns), the team’s leading rusher in each of the last two years. While there’s no doubting Franklin’s ability to run hard, nor is there any doubting his experience and proven production, he’ll need to develop his receiving skills to become a better fit for this system. You saw this at Arizona State: Mazzone would often begin with a running back lined up traditionally but then motion him out wide into the slot. Franklin needs to show that he can handle that role. One of the biggest surprises of the spring was the play of redshirt freshman Steven Manfro, who made the most of the opportunity to work under a new staff. Manfro and junior Malcolm Jones (103 yards) will serve as Franklin’s primary backups.

U.C.L.A. loses three contributors at receiver, including all-conference pick Nelson Rosario, as its moves to a more multiple-receiver offense. Not surprisingly, the Bruins do lack optimal depth. The group’s best is senior Joseph Fauria (39 receptions for 481 yards and 6 scores), the de facto tight end in Mazzone’s system. With Fauria demanding attention in the middle, there will be opportunities for receivers to make play on the outside. But players like senior Jerry Johnson – who was hampered by ankle injuries last fall – and junior Shaq Evans (19 for 306) need to take advantage; U.C.L.A. needs a big year from both.

Look for several true and redshirt freshmen to make an impact. Redshirt freshman Devin Lucien is pushing Johnson for a starting role; incoming freshmen Javon Williams and Jordan Payton are viewed as two immediate-impact players. Two holdovers, juniors Jerry Rice, Jr. and Ricky Marvray (10 for 57) are also going to see extensive snaps. Overall, this isn’t a strong receiver corps. But if Fauria takes over and the freshmen are ready to produce, U.C.L.A. should get enough to lift this passing game out of the doldrums.

If there was some early uncertainty over what direction Mora would take this offense, you knew right from the start that he’d shift U.C.L.A. into a 3-4 base set on defense. This is in Mora’s wheelhouse: he’s been 3-4 from the start, way back when with the Chargers, and he’s implemented similar schemes nearly throughout his coaching career. And in hiring Spanos, Mora reeled in a coordinator to whom he can delegate a strong portion of responsibility; while Mora will be hands-on with the defense, Spanos has the sort of experience that should allow Mora to adapt more of a C.E.O. style of leadership – and knowing the personnel and the roster, being able to recruit all day, every day, demands a big-picture view.

Both sides of the ball are going to encounter a learning curve adapting to the new schemes. As noted above, U.C.L.A. isn’t exactly loaded with experience at any position on offense, with the exception of quarterback, perhaps. On defense, the Bruins’ front seven is going to struggle at times moving from the 4-3 to the 3-4. Why? For the same reason that every team stumbles making the transition: rush ends are now linebackers, smaller tackles are now ends, outside linebackers are now middle linebackers and so on down the line. The good news for U.C.L.A. is that there is no shortage of talent both up front and at linebacker.

Again, the key will be simply finding roles for those players who must be on the field as much as possible. One example is junior Cassius Marsh (22 tackles, 4.o for loss), an eight-game starter at tackle last fall who now moves out to end. Marsh will be joined at end by senior Datone Jones (41 tackles, 3.0 sacks), giving U.C.L.A. two prototypically sized 3-4 ends. While both were projected to start at the position heading into spring drills, it was good to see both cement those roles with strong play in March and April.

To me, it was surprising to see junior Owa Odighizuwa add weight – about 10 pounds, up to 270 or so – and remain at end rather than slim down and line up at outside linebacker. Coming out of high school, Odighizuwa was a five-star, highly-rated national recruit; while he has yet to make an impact, I thought he’d be a nice fit as a bigger 3-4 outside linebacker. Instead, he’ll provide value as the first end off the bench – and someone who will play end when U.C.L.A. moves to a 4-3, with Marsh moving inside.

Looking at this front, the biggest issue will be locating a capable nose tackle. The answer might arrive in August, when freshman Ellis McCarthy joins the program – though asking a true freshman to anchor this defense is cause for concern. While McCarthy is going to play as a rookie, he’ll need to have a strong fall camp to leapfrog past sophomore Brandon Willis, a former U.N.C. transfer, senior Donovan Carter (36 tackles) and junior Seali’l Epenesa. Willis, at 275, seems too small for nose tackle; Carter, on the other hand, has the solid base and the strength to fare well in the middle. Make no mistake: U.C.L.A. needs to address this position in August.

While Odighizuwa added weight to remain at end, senior Damien Holmes (32 tackles, 6.0 for loss) cut about 10 pounds to move up to outside linebacker – as did junior Keenan Graham, one of the backups on the outside. The Bruins are locked in at linebacker: Holmes and junior Jordan Zumwalt (60 tackles) outside and senior Patrick Larimore (81 tackles) and sophomore Eric Kendricks (77 tackles, 4.5 for loss) in the middle. One thing I wouldn’t be surprised to see occur in August is Kendricks and Zumwalt swap spots, as Kendricks is not only smaller but also a better player in space.

The entire group simply needs to get on board with the system. It won’t be easy: U.C.L.A. is not going to play like gangbusters out of the gate, but as noted in the Arizona preview, I think that atypical defensive alignments – the 3-4 here, the 3-3-5 in Tucson – are a good fit for offenses in the Pac-12. In terms of personnel, the biggest issue at linebacker is a lack of experienced depth. This is doubly true at middle linebacker, though Zumwalt’s ability to move inside in a pinch increases his value.

Only one returning defensive back is assured of a starting role. That would be sophomore free safety Tevin McDonald (56 tackles, 3 interceptions), who moved into the starting lineup in mid-September due to injuries and never relinquished the top spot; McDonald ended up earning Freshman all-American honors, the first of several conference and national accolades he’s due to compile over the next two or three seasons.

More than any position on the roster, cornerback is going to be greatly impacted by the arrival of the Bruins’ terrific recruiting class. Today, seniors Sheldon Price (47 tackles) and Aaron Hester (57 tackles) hold starting roles; at some point this season, if not at some point in August, one or both could be replaced by true freshman Marcus Rios and Ishmael Adams. With that pair moving in, as well as players like junior Brandon Sermons and sophomore Anthony Jefferson in the fold, U.C.L.A. felt comfortable moving senior Andrew Abbott (44 tackles, 4 interceptions) to strong safety, where he’s expected to start the season opener.

Which group is closer to tasting immediate success: the offense or the defense? Neither is going to explode from the start, but I do think that the defense is more likely to fully grasp Mora’s new scheme in 2012. But the defense has the same issue as the offense, which is a lack of adequate depth – though the Bruins do have several younger, untested players who could step up this fall.

U.C.L.A. has a long snapper you’ve never heard of – so you know that Kevin McDermott is solid – and one of the Pac-12’s top two punters in senior Jeff Locke. Every other piece on special teams needs work. An issue last fall, U.C.L.A. hopes to resolve its kicking woes with incoming freshman Ka’imi Fairbairn. It would also be nice to get something in the return game – not necessarily dynamic play, just the sort of production that allows U.C.L.A. to keep pace in the fight for field position.

Position battle(s) to watch

Quarterback The greatest trick Mazzone could ever pull would be turning senior Kevin Prince into an all-conference quarterback. Prince, the Bruins’ starter in each of the last three years, was one of six quarterbacks listed in the running for the starting job during spring ball. In reality, this is a four-quarterback competition: Prince, fellow senior Richard Brehaut, redshirt freshman Brett Hundley and true freshman Devin Fuller, the latter a top-40 recruit who will start at quarterback but may end up elsewhere – perhaps as early as this season. And it might be a stretch to include Fuller in the conversation, as I imagine that U.C.L.A. would rather hand him a redshirt in 2012.

But national recruits are given every opportunity to make an immediate splash, so Fuller will have a shot at breaking into the mix during fall camp. For now, however, let’s call it a three-man position battle. You can cite one factor in each quarterback’s corner. Prince has that experience, 26 career starts, and has shown an ability to will U.C.L.A. to victory when healthy; unfortunately, Prince has waged a constant battle with injuries, and it’s safe to say that U.C.L.A. can rely on him for a 12-game season. Brehaut, the runner-up to Prince in each of the last two years, has played more than enough – and often played fairly well, especially in avoiding turnovers last fall – to finally grab hole of the starting job. In addition, Brehaut was lights out during an admittedly offensively-skewed spring game: 16 of 20 for 249 yards and 4 scores.

Then there’s Hundley, who has that new car small and a spotless reputation, thanks to his never having played in a game for the Bruins. Hundley’s a bit like Fuller, albeit without the athletic gifts the latter is supposed to bring to the table: an accomplished high school quarterback, Hundley impressed on the scout team last fall. So who’s it going to be? Mora has said that he’ll wait for as long as possible before anointing his starter, and all three – and Fuller – will recommence the competition in August. Prince has experience, Brehaut the passing acumen and Hundley the potential to grow in this system. With this program in flux, taking on new schemes and a new staff, I think that U.C.L.A. should hand Hundley the keys at some point and lay some groundwork for the future. But if Mora wants immediate results, I imagine that Brehaut will get the call.

Game(s) to watch

All things considered, Mora couldn’t ask for much more from this schedule. He opens with a clear win against Rice. His Rose Bowl debut comes against Nebraska – a loss, in my mind, but a great opponent to christen the Mora era at home. After another home game against Houston, which breaks in a new staff, Mora and the Bruins get two absolutely winnable games, Oregon State at home and Colorado in Boulder, to open Pac-12 play. Even with the system changes, U.C.L.A. should start well. While the Bruins close the regular season with two home games, it’s hard to see them beating either U.S.C. or Stanford. So with a potentially smooth start and a nasty close, it’s important that U.C.L.A. win at least two of three against Arizona, Arizona State and Washington State in late November and early October. To get back into bowl play, U.C.L.A. has to take care of business against the rebuilding or new-look teams in the Pac-12 – Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State and Washington State.

Season breakdown & prediction

In a nutshell So the framework of Mora’s new house is broken – the roof caved, the shingles torn off, the front door blown in, the driveway overrun with weeds. It won’t be easy for Mora to clean up this mess; it’ll take time, more than one year, before U.C.L.A. can be considered in the same breath as U.S.C. and Oregon. What Mora and this staff can rely on in 2012 is this program’s foundation, the overall talent level, which is high enough for U.C.L.A. to make another bowl trip despite the painful transition that will accompany the team’s scheme changes. In fact, based on several factors – not just talent but also far stronger coaching – I think that U.C.L.A. is going to take a step forward in 2012, though I’m not alone in this regard. Beyond the two-steps-forward, one-step-back sort of play you’ll find from U.C.L.A. this fall, you’ll also see the Bruins play with far more fire, something that was obviously missing over Neuheisel’s final season with the program.

But increased energy will only take the Bruins so far. This is still a team with several issues to address: quarterback, where U.C.L.A. can either go with experience or potential; receiver, where the lack of proven options on the outside is troubling; the offensive line, which can’t afford any injuries; the front seven, thanks to the system change; and the secondary, which might need those incoming freshmen to play major snaps right off the bat. In addition, U.C.L.A. does have depth issues across the board – as noted earlier, the issue is not talent on the second level but experience. In essence, while U.C.L.A. is going to be a better team, the Bruins remain a work in progress.

What is there to like about this team? The wonderful staff Mora hired, for one. The youthful potential of the defensive line and linebacker corps. The fact that several true and redshirt freshmen are going to serve in key roles, gaining experience in advance of 2013 and beyond. Again, the Bruins are talented enough to taste some success in Mora’s first season. For now, seven wins, a one-win improvement over last season, should be viewed as a successful debut for Mora and his staff.

Dream season U.C.L.A. loses at home to Nebraska on Sept. 8, but that’s the Bruins only loss until a painful home defeat to Utah on Oct. 13. While U.C.L.A. loses once more, to Stanford in the regular season finale, that comes seven days after one of the best wins in program history: U.C.L.A. 24, U.S.C. 10.

Nightmare season Mora becomes the program’s first head coach since Pepper Rodgers to win less than four games in his first season. U.C.L.A. goes 3-9, beating Rice, Colorado and Oregon State. The Trojans squeak by with a 51-0 win.

In case you were wondering

Where do U.C.L.A. fans congregate? A handful of solid fan sites: Bruin Report OnlineBruin BlitzBruin Gold and The Bruin Zone. For consistently illuminating coverage of U.C.L.A. sports, look no further than Bruins Nation. For the best newspaper coverage, check out the Web site of The Los Angeles Times, Adam Maya’s blog at The Orange County Register and Jonathan Gold of the L.A. Daily News.

U.C.L.A.’s all-name nominee WR Logan Sweet.

Word Count

Through 67 teams 259,155.

Up Next

Who is No. 57? When the head coach at tomorrow’s program was born, there was a Democrat in the White House, the Dow Jones was at roughly 830, a stamp cost 15 cents and the federal debt was a very manageable $830 billion.

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Comments

  1. KDRLAX says:

    Well Jimmy Carter was a democratic president from Jan 20, 1977 to Jan20, 1981.
    The U.S. Postage Rate went to 15 cents on May 29, 1978 until being raised to 18 cents on March 22, 1981.

    And coach Matt Campbell was born Nov. 29, 1979…

    (all according to very quick research via Wikipedia)

    thus I say our next team is TOLEDO!!!!!

  2. David says:

    Agreed: Toledo, Matt Campbell (born 1979)

  3. Correction says:

    You mean TURDledo.

  4. Parker says:

    Good work KDRLX. In additon, the Dow closed at 831.74 on November 29, 1979.

  5. Pat in Toledo says:

    I’m thinking #57 will be Toledo:

    Head Coach Matt Campbell is 32 (so born in 1980). Youngest Head Coach in the FBS (Division 1-A)
    The cost of a first class postage stamp in 1980 was… 15 cents.
    The President in 1980 was… Jimmy Carter (Democrat)
    Dow Jones on January 2, 1980: 824.57
    The figures that I could find on the federal debt circa 1980 were as follows:
    12/31/1979 CARTER $845,116,000,000
    12/31/1980 CARTER $930,210,000,000

    Toldo will finish higher than #57 at the end of the 2012 college footbal season!!!

  6. Burnt Orange says:

    In 1979, the University of Texas defense allowed 8.6 points per game, never allowed more than 17 points, played three teams that went 10-1 – beat two of them – the eventual Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl champions and still somehow lost three games. Most of the points allowed were the direct result of turnovers. For instance, lost to the Aggies 13-7 while fumbling away two punts and two kickoffs – how do you do that ? It was the most wasted defensive performance in the history of football.

  7. Jim Narby says:

    Nebraska is up next.

  8. Jim Narby says:

    Nebraska is next.

    why did my last post get censored, this is an outrage.

  9. Parker says:

    Hi BurntO

    The 1979 Horns might have cost Houston a piece of a national title. Houston was undefeated and 5th when 8th ranked Texas rolled into town in early November.

    Both had stellar defenses. Houston allowed 11 points a game that year. The Horns won in the Dome 21-13. It was the first time UH and Texas had played at the Dome, and the place was sold out.

    Had Houston finished 12-0 in 1979 with wins over UCLA, Florida, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Texas and Nebraska, etc. we might have gotten shared a piece of it with 12-0 Alabama.

    Parker

  10. Burnt Orange says:

    Hey Parker – I remember that 1979 UH game well. Two excellent defenses- UH beat Texas the year before 10-7 in Austin. That Bama team was tremendous though. Texas was slated to play Bama in the Sugar Bowl before the A&M fiasco. I liked the way Texas matched up with Bama and think they would have had a shot. Funny thing is I have an OU buddy who thinks Texas cost the Sooners the National title that year – Texas held Billy Sims and the Sooners to six first downs in a 16-7 win. OU scored following a Texas fumble on the Horn 16 yd line. Sorry to digress so much but you say 1979, and I think of the greatest Texas defense I ever saw and a season that haunts me to this day.

    Back on point, I would be interested to know people’s thoughts on Mazzone, the OC at UCLA. Have watched him since his days at TCU and he is confounding – great passing schemes, so so rushing attacks and offenses that seem especially vulnerable to blitzes. I think he is overrated, but he keeps getting these high profile college positions. What am I missing ?

  11. Parker says:

    Hi BurntO

    I’m with you on Mazzone. He was rumored to be Sumlin’s first choice as OC at Houston in 2008. He turned us down and we hired Holgorsen. Best thing that ever happened to us.

    I remember researching Mazzone at the time and thinking that the guy was decent but hardly ever produced a Top 10 offense in terms of points or yards.

    Parker

  12. Mazzone’s scheme revolves around quick passes towards the sidelines. He will call at least a half dozen of these a game. That is why a playmaker like Jamal Miles only averaged about 6 yards per catch last year.

    The Bruins D better improve because I don’t know how much help they are going to get from this offense.

  13. Machavelli says:

    Glad some other people feel the same way I do about Mazzone – so overrated. Guy must have a great agent that markets him hard – hence the “N-Zone system.” But never a winner.

    Also, Im questioning the enthusiasm for this staff. They can most likely coach, but can they recruit? A majority of them, save for Klemm, Mazzone, and Broussard, have NFL backgrounds with little-to-no college background.

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