By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on August 20, 2014
UCLA comes in at No. 7 in both preseason polls, which are about as useful as a fork while eating cereal, but it tells you what the expectations are. The schedule is tough like always, but which five games are must-watch contests?
UCLA is used to playing in big stadiums, but AT&T Stadium is the Dubai of football stadiums. L.A. is all about glitz and glamor, but the jumbo video screen in this stadium is glitz and glamor on steroids. The Longhorns' defense better be ready because when it faced a similar offense as UCLA’s last year, BYU rushed for 550 yards.
This game has become the Pac-12 South semifinal the past three years as the winner has taken the crown. Neither team has been able to knock off Oregon or Stanford though. QB Taylor Kelly, RB D.J. Foster and WR Jaelen Strong led an upset last year, and all return in 2014.
UCLA lost 24-10 in last year's game against Stanford, but has two positive things to take away from that game. First, this year's game is at home in the Rose Bowl. Secondly, last year's Stanford squad relied heavily on Tyler Gaffney, feeding him the rock 36 times, which produced 171 yards and two scores. Gaffney is now on the Patriots' roster.
The tide is starting to turn near the Pacific Ocean in this crosstown rivalry. UCLA has now won two in a row with Jim Mora directing the Bruins. USC is still king of the town when it comes to recruiting, but losing by 21 at home was an embarrassment to fans of the Trojans.
UCLA lost last year's Oregon game 42-14 on the road. The game was tied at 14 at halftime, but Oregon's speed was too much to contain in the second half. The Bruins will need to stop Byron Marshall, who ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns last year. This game will tell us if the hype surround the Bruins program is warranted.
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