The UCLA Bruins are in a prime position to be a great collegiate program this upcoming season. I have three big reasons why this is to be the case, but first, we have to look back at the 2020 season. Last season, the Bruins went 3-4 in all Pac-12 Conference games. However, here are the reasons why the UCLA Bruins will be a tougher opponent in the 2021 season.
When it comes to college football, having players who have spent a lot of time together to form a chemistry and bond is crucial. That is what we have here with the Bruins. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a senior, while the entire offensive line is projected to be juniors or higher. That means they understand the game of collegiate football and can take control of games in which younger players cannot.
When looking at the projected depth chart for UCLA on Ourlads.com, the entire starting defense are players returning from last season, so they don’t need to implement their system. Two starters, Jordan Genmark Heath and Cameron Johnson, are graduate transfers as well, so they are very knowledgeable about the game.
Chip Kelly’s System is Fully in Place
Head coach Chip Kelly brings forth a special kind of team with his 4-2-5 defensive scheme and a run-heavy offense. However, this will be his fourth season as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins, and that means all of these players are people that he recruited for his system. Kelly’s ideology is to score points, and that’s what happened last season as the Bruins averaged 34 points per game.
Their season kicks off tomorrow afternoon against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, so it will be interesting as no fans are allowed to be in attendance for the opener. There aren’t many tough opponents on the UCLA schedule where you would need to immediately chalk up a loss in their direction. If the defense can step up better than they did in 2020, then they will be in such a great spot to be a winning team.
Vegas Seems to Like Them
There is one thing certain in sports: Las Vegas knows more about your favorite teams than you do. According to the odds listed over at Fanduel Sportsbook as of this writing. UCLA is currently +1200 to win the entire Pac-12 Conference this season. When looking at their division, they are fourth at +750 to win the Pac-12 South division as well.
The teams ahead of them for the Pac-12 Conference in terms of odds are Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, USC, and Utah. The Bruins matchup with each of those teams at least on a decent level with their veteran leadership and understanding Chip Kelly’s system.
Fanduel also has the Bruins win total set at 7 wins, and there is definitely a path in which that number can be easily beaten. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is in line to have a great season under this system and can make things happen with his legs. Don’t be shocked if the UCLA Bruins are in discussions for the NCAA Playoffs when the season closes.
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