For what seems like forever the UCLA Bruins have lived in the shadows of that other team 14 miles away. The days of playing second fiddle to recruits and to the national spot light appears to be over. The Bruins have two Heisman contender and a roster full of elite playmakers poised to breakout and do great things in Westwood. Expectations are higher than ever before, its been decades since the Bruins have been mentioned among the nation’s elite, the turn around that Coach Jim Mora has done in two years is nothing short of remarkable. And with Brett Hundley at quarterback and Myles Jack terrorizing opponents on both sides of the ball, a national championship is not just a dream but a plausible reality.
Hundley has been terrorizing helpless defenses with his jaw dropping athleticism as well with his arm which is cannon-like in both precision and accuracy. Although the talent at wide receiver is a bit unproven there is no shortage of talent. Jordan Payton who has battled injuries appears poised to finally live up to his 5-star high school billing. The offensive line, which was once considered a glaring weakness is expected to be vastly improved this season. Last season the running back depth was decimated by injury but early signs point to Jordon James reasserting himself in his final season in Westwood. Depth may still be a concern so expect the reigning Pac 12 offensive and defensive player of the year Jack to get some snaps behind center.
Jack may have shown promise on the offensive side of the ball, his true calling is on defense. Last season Jack did great things relying on his god given talent but after a summer spent in the film room the All American will read and not simply react during his sophomore campaign. The defensive line is nothing short of impressive, freshman All American Eddie Vanderdoes is truly a man among boys. And now that Owa Odighizuwa is healthy after his recent hip injury he could be poised for all conference honors at season’s end.
In the Wild Wild West, a team is as only as good as their secondary. In a league chock full of premiere passers the Bruins can breath a much needed sigh of relief. Led by Fabian Moreau opposing quarterback will think twice. Last season the Bruins finished third in pass defense, and the secondary is bound to improve.
The hunter has become the hunted and with expectations at a all time high, one of two things will happen: The Bruins will live up to the hype and punch their ticket to the Inaugural College Football Playoffs or they fall flat on their faces. Are the Bruins the new kings of LA? Stay tuned…I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast