In Jim Mora‘s first season in Los Angeles, the UCLA Bruins finished in the top 25, beat the USC Trojans, qualified for the Pac-12 Championship game and appeared in the Holiday Bowl. Sure, they lost both their postseason games, but the 9-5 Bruins put together a pleasantly surprising season and ended it with plenty off which to build in 2013 and beyond.
Of couse, when it comes to football in Los Angeles, everything revolves around ULCA and USC. If there’s one game the Bruins want to win every year, it’s the one against USC. They did just that in 2012, although the Trojans weren’t nearly the team many expected them to be. However, that will be even more true in 2013, so the Bruins could be the football kings of LA as soon as this year.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley had an incredible freshman season, during which he threw for 3,740 yards and 29 touchdowns while rushing for another 355 yards and nine scores. This isn’t just an athlete at quarterback, folks. This kid can flat out play.
Meanwhile, USC sends Matt Barkley off to the NFL after a disappointing college career. In steps Max Wittek (I don’t care what Lane Kiffin says about a quarterback competition, and you definitely can’t go by anything that guy says), who succeeded Barkley in high school and will now do the same at USC. Regardless of his performance, Kiffin will be the one to hold the Trojans back.
That means it’s UCLA’s time to shine. Hundley will undoubtedly be even better in 2013 and the Trojans…won’t. If you’re placing a bet on this year’s UCLA-USC game, put your money on the usual underdogs.