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Game Four – CU v. UCLA – Friday, September 28th (7:00 p.m., MT, FS1) 

Last game between the two schools … September 30, 2017 UCLA 27, Colorado 23 …

The Colorado defense “held” UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen to 372 yards and one touchdown passing, but the Buffs could not make a play late, with UCLA holding on to defeat Colorado, 27-23.

CU quarterback Steven Montez went 17-for-36 for 243 yards and a touchdown, and also led the Buffs in rushing, going for 108 yards on 15 carries. Running back Phillip Lindsay posted 83 yards on 19 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run. Lindsay also had a 21-yard touchdown reception.

UCLA out-gained Colorado, 467 yards to 434, with the most important 79 yards coming on the Bruins’ final drive. The Buffs had pulled to within a point, at 24-23, with 6:49 remaining, but the Bruins pieced together a 15-play, 79-yard drive, icing the game with a 31-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining.

“Our kids will bounce back but I was really proud of the way they fought and really proud of the way they played,” said Mike MacIntyre. “Had a couple plays here or there that could have gone either way, that was the difference in the game, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

… The full game story and You Tube video of the game, along with the essay for the game, It’s Real Frustrating, Actually“, can be found here


2017 UCLA results – 6-7 (4-5 in Pac-12 play)

– Returning starters, Offense: 4 … Returning starters, Defense: 6


– 2017 UCLA National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 36th … 32.5 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 74th … 28.2 points per game)

— Rushing – 116th … 113.4 yards per game   (Colorado rushing defense – 108th … 208.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 4th … 344.5 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 94th … 242.6 yards per game)

— Total – 22nd … 457.8 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 109th … 450.6 yards per game)

– 2017 UCLA National Rankings (Defense)

— Scoring – 117th … 36.6 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 81st … 26.4 points per game)

— Rushing – 130th … 287.4 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 74th … 157.2 yards per game)

— Passing – 31st … 196.3 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 39th … 260.4 yards per game)

— Total – 123rd … 483.7 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 48th … 417.6 yards per game)


UCLA storylines … 

– All Hail, Chip Kelly!! ….

For CU’s second Power-Five conference game of the 2018 season (and Pac-12 opener), the storylines will be fairly similar.

UCLA, like Nebraska, is coming off of a losing season.

UCLA, like Nebraska, likes to think of itself as an elite national program.

UCLA, like Nebraska, believes it has found a new coach who will restore their programs to greatness.

When the Buffs face UCLA on Friday, September 28th (7:00 p.m., FS1), it will be the first conference game for each team, and the first Pac-12 game for new Bruin head coach Chip Kelly.

It’s a brave new world for Kelly, who will coach a team who went 6-7 last season, and comes into the 2018 campaign with only ten returning starters. In 2009, when Kelly took over for Mike Bellotti at Oregon, he inherited a team which had gone 10-3 the previous season, finishing with a No. 10 final ranking.

Still, great things are expected of Kelly. Athlon rated the Kelly hire as the second-best move of the 21 schools with new coaches this season (with Nebraska’s Scott Frost being considered the best hire). Said Athlon:

“UCLA made a major statement about its commitment to football by spending big money to fire Jim Mora and to hire Kelly, the biggest free agent on the coaching market … With a fertile recruiting base, and a system that players will want to play in, Kelly should have the Bruins competing for Pac-12 South titles on a regular basis in the near future”. 

Lindy’s chimed in:

“UCLA hit the jackpot. This season will be all about UCLA’s transition to Chip Kelly … the Bruins may be dark-horse contenders in a Pac-12 South that doesn’t appear to have a dominant team”. 

The consensus appears to be that Chip Kelly will make the Bruins winners. That it’s a question of “when”, not “if”.

We’ll see …

Players make plays

Bruin quarterback Josh Rosen was taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th pick of the NFL draft, leaving a significant void in the UCLA offense. Sophomore Devon Modster had 671 yards and four touchdowns passing in mop-up duty last season behind Rosen, but will be pushed by super recruit Dorian Thompson-Robinson and former Michigan quarterback Wilson Speight.

Whoever takes the snaps will have a pair of talented (but as of yet unproductive) backs to hand off to – Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi. Despite having basks with clever names, the Bruins haven’t produced a running back with over 600 yards rushing in either of the past two seasons.

The UCLA wide receivers put up decent numbers in 2017, with the top returner being junior Theo Howard (56 catches, 594 yards, four touchdowns). Tight end Caleb Wilson posted 38 catches for 490 yards … in only five games last year before being injured.

The biggest issue for the Bruins on offense is the offensive line. UCLA was 116th in the nation in rushing last year (and 75th in sacks allowed), with only two returning starters back.

The UCLA defense is in transition as well, with the Bruins switching to a 3-4 alignment under defensive coordinator Jerry Azziarno, who has coached with Kelly before, both at Oregon and in the NFL

The strength of the defense is the secondary, where three of the six returning starters reside. The linebackers have great recruiting resumes, but will need to translate that talent into production on the field without All-everything linebacker Kenny Young, who is now a Baltimore Raven.

The defensive line, however, is a liability.

Last season, UCLA ranked 130th – out of 130 teams – in rushing defense, giving up 287.4 yards rushing per game. Until and unless strides are made along the defensive front, the Bruins will not be a factor in the Pac-12 race.


How the Buffs fit into the Bruins’ 2018 schedule

As noted, the September 28th matchup between Colorado and UCLA will be the Pac-12 opener for both schools. The game will be nationally televised on FS1, and will be played on a Friday night.

Safe bet … there will be significant coverage that week on Chip Kelly’s return to Pac-12 competition.

Still, Kelly has his work cut out for him before setting his sights on the Buffs.

UCLA opens its Chip Kelly era with a fairly easy opponent, Cincinnati (4-8 in 2017). Thereafter, the non-conference schedule picks up in difficulty dramatically, with a road game against Oklahoma (a top ten team in most preseason publications), followed by a home game against Fresno State (10-4 in 2017).

Like Colorado, UCLA will enjoy a bye week after finishing up non-conference action. Both teams will have 13 days to prepare for their battle under the lights at Folsom Field.

… UCLA’s schedule analysis, from College Football News … 

Chip Kelly gets a week of a tune-up against Cincinnati before having to go deal with Oklahoma. Everyone will pay attention to that, but the Fresno State game will be dangerous, too. November will be a bear, but at least USC has to come up the road and the Stanford battle is in the Rose Bowl.
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6


Bottom Line

Take Chip Kelly out of the equation, and you would have to like CU’s chances against UCLA this fall.

The Buffs beat the Bruins, 20-10 in 2016, the last time the teams played in Boulder, and wouda/coulda/shoulda beaten the Bruins in the Rose Bowl last season. Unlike a few other opponents in the conference, the Buffs have held their own against UCLA in recent Pac-12 play.

If Jim Mora were still the coach of the Bruins, and was bringing to Boulder a UCLA team with only ten returning starters … a team which was dead last in the nation in rushing defense in 2017 … a team which finished 6-7 last year with Josh Rosen at quarterback … for a late September game before a rowdy Friday night Folsom Field crowd …

You would have to feel pretty good about taking the Buffs.

The addition of Chip Kelly, however, alters the equation. While Kelly can’t suit up and play, he brings an aura with him which makes people believe that the Bruins will instantly respond.

Games against Oklahoma and Fresno State will be telling for Chip Kelly and his new team. If the Bruins are competitive against the Sooners, and take care of business against a talented Bulldog squad, it could be a difficult night for the Buff Nation when the Bruins come to town.

If, on the other hand, the Chip Kelly luster has been tarnished a bit before the Bruins enter Pac-12 play, and the Buffs are playing up to their potential, the Pac-12 opener could be a pivotal game for Colorado in the 2018 season. If the Buffs come into the UCLA game with a 3-0 record, and finish September 4-0, the Buffs could be looking forward to a winning season … and perhaps even more.

Conversely, if the Buffs come out of September with a 2-2 record (or, God forbid, 1-3), then the Buff Nation will be turning its attention to the 2019 season … and who will be its next head coach.


13 Replies to “Scouting the Opposition – UCLA”

  1. “Conversely, if the Buffs come out of September with a 2-2 record (or, God forbid, 1-3), then the Buff Nation will be turning its attention to the 2019 season … and who will be its next head coach.”

    Sheesh Stu, that’s a little harsh ain’t it?
    2-2 out of September is just about expected don’t ya think. Earache has a deep infection believing the Buffs are gonna win in Stinkn Linkn. No (I hope it does) gonna happen.

    UCLA-Kelly will end up being a beast. Can Mac beat Kelly? Doubtful.

    2 and 2 in September(8-31 = 9-1) and lets get October rolling. (1-3….losing to CSU….don’t let the goal posts hit em in the arse)

    Hey wow holy-moly 2 and 2 has to happen in September. Seriously. AZ and OSU at home….lose one of those (cause Mac ain’t gonna win the other 2) and the pac-12 Mac-history don’t be looking too good. (1-4 in conference???) Uh Oh.

    Can it be made up (1-4 pac-12….Win 4 (October) to be 5 and 4..Pac??…Win 3 bowl eligibility on the line) Whoa look at last year. Early morning “Long Shot”

    Up the Buffs

    Note: No bowl? No extension. No excuses. Be better than your record says you are. Year 6.

  2. The whole Tumpkin thing blind-sided and hit the entire program hard last year! The times they were a changin’!

    HCMM does what he’s told to do when confronted with Krazy and then they changed the rules mid-stream! And PC CU sends out the cowardly “nasties” vibe, which literally made it impossible to focus on football, not knowing if one would be subject of a #MeToo firing or criminal legal action or whatever. (Unlike, say, Michigan State, where 20 years of touchy-feely-gropy means never having to say you’re sorry!) So glad that is over with, for now….

    Still, with all that turmoil and trying to ketchup with losing 11 contributors (8 starters) and your DC on “D”, then having your captains FUBAR on “O”; that team was still only two dropped TD passes at UCLA and one tackle v. AZ, away from 7-5.

    So right now, HCMM still has a better record at CU than the original Mac did at the same point in his career. Will be interesting to see what happens this season, for sure.

    1. Yur up late! Was the ol early-bird at the cafe crowded? It was Sunday so probably so.

      Yup Tumpkin was a disaster. He knew about it and still made him DC. Dumb.
      Hey it’s all about the University not the HC. Tough decisions made by the leaders.

      Yup we will see what happens this year. If he is being “grown up honest” and plays head coach and not pretend to be a DB coach, and takes MacIntyre emphasizing leadership for Buffs this offseason ….into the season with him being the leader…………perhaps just perhaps.

      Up the Mighty Buffalo

      Note: Winning percentage first 5 years. Mac1 .357, Mac2 .396
      Note 2: Winning percentage first 5 conference only Mac1 .411 Mac2 .363
      Note 3: Gotta win the conference games.

      1. VK, I don’t think anyone disputes that conference wins are more important than non-conference (for the most part, of course there are the marquee matchups, which were way, way more common for CU during the glory days of CU football, as we know).

        But, since you love your stats, why not dive into the comparison of the Pac 12 conference during Mac’s tenure, compared to the Big 8 during McCartney’s?

        From my vantage point the Big 8 was really more like the Big 2 or Big 3. CU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and occasionally and OK state (when they had Barry).

        Beyond that, the Iowa States, Kansas, K State and Missouri were chronically terrible.

        The Pac 12, meanwhile although still only having two or three arguably power-house teams, was much stronger and deeper top to bottom, one could argue.

        I wonder if that has anything to do w/ Mac and Mac’s respective records in conference games?

        Or, maybe due to the changing landscape in NCAA football over the last 30 years, there’s no true comparison, other than on paper, at all? Anyway…

        Go Buffs.

        1. The Landscape is always changing.

          So for grins:

          % of teams with a non losing record in conference games

          Coach Mac big 8 1982…..83…..84…..85…..86……ave

          Cach Mac2 pac 12 2013…..14…..15…..16…..17….ave

          So there ya go………….Huge Huge Huge difference. (Really) Ya can only play who the schedule says ya play. Mac played everyone. Mac 2 missed some of those winning teams.

          Anyway year 6………….The bewitching year………….

          Up the Buffalo.

          1. Eric, you gotta remember when VK goes on his Arm-chaired rants, things proceed like this:

            Lies < Damned LIES < Statistics < VK's Cherry-picked-no-context STATISTICS!

            He's nearly as bad as that "Double Secret Insider Poseur", HAWG!

          2. Clearly coddler,

            Just gave you the facts. But since they don’t fit what your narrative, you become MSM.

            Buffs Up

          3. Yeah, Old Codger, stats can usually be found to support almost any argument someone can make. Still, sometimes they’re interesting to see and discuss, and other times, not so much.

            I mean, “statistically” CU’s got a less talented roster than either UCLA or Nebraska, to pick two glaring examples based on recruiting stats, right? And, “statistically” both those teams’ new coaches are also better than Mac.

            So, what’s it say when CU goes into Lincoln and comes out with a win this fall? Or, when they put the beat down on UCLA at Folsom Field? Oh, the statistical horror… Some will say an anomaly, like 2016 was for CU. Others may disagree. Cannot wait to see it unfold.

            Go Buffs.

          4. Yes Statistics do matter. Talent matters as well.
            Coaching matters as it brings it all together to give the talent an opportunity to whip the statistics.

            “You are what your record says you are”

            Up the Buffalo

            Note: Luck and breaks and good karma are also involved. May all the breaks and luck and good karma be with the Mighty Buff Football team.

            Special note: Phil Steele predicts the Mighty Buffs are going to the Vegas bowl…………….yehhhhhhhhhhhhha

  3. At least Macintyre is taking some ownership for last year. I would have liked it better if his wording would have been more direct as in: “I evaluated myself for last year’s performance and did not feel that I did a good enough job in X, Y, and Z”. I’m committed this year to learn from that and do a better job by doing A,B, and C.” That type of ownership and personal accountability earns respect from assistant coaches and players. Leading by example. Maybe I am nitpicking but I still see qualifiers in his statements and modifying it by saying that he did better this year. It should be continuous improvement, every year there is something to be better at. With that being said, it is nice to see some words in the ownership arena. Now, let’s see it translate to the field. Go Buffs!!!

    1. There is “rumor” that there is a different vibe around the football center. Just a rumor mind you. That things, meaning Mac, have changed. For the better. Just a rumor mind you. I hope this to be correct.

      Up The Buffs.

      Note: What he said is just about as far as he can go. It is not easy for that type of ego/personality to make even that small step. Pretty good job here.

  4. Players make plays

    Recruiting Ranking


    One could surmise that UCLA had/has the talent. The coaching. Not so much.

    That has changed.

    Coaching yup coaching is the difference maker.

    Buffs have upgraded the staff.
    Mac seems to be over his PCOTYFU.

    Get the bowl game. Anything else is gravy.
    Anything less and well you know.


    Note: 3 and 1 in September Would be great. 2 and 2 would be average.

    Note 2: 2 and 2 is what is expected. 3 and 1 would be great. 1 and 3 and??

    Note 3: 2 and 2 is needed. 3 and 1 is expected. 4 and 0 is possible

  5. Ye ol Buffzone article on TunaMac

    “To get that little extra this year, MacIntyre started by looking in the mirror.

    “I feel like I have done a better job with this group this year than last year,” he said>/i>

    Well okay then. The mirror never lies. He screwed up last year and I guess this is kinda/maybe/actually the admission of that FACT.

    “When I sat down looking back, I thought I needed to help build that (camaraderie and leadership) and help facilitate that, and the coaches and players and all of us together needed to,” MacIntyre said.

    Mein Gott maybe he’s gott itt. Finally gotten over the COTY and then the admission of the ever present PCOTYFU.

    Well there ya go.

    Dang nab it Coach Mac make it happen.

    Always rooting for the Mighty Buffs.

    (Post Coach of the Year F**k Up)


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