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2021 UCLA Bruins: It’s Year Four Chip!
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2021 UCLA Bruins: It’s Year Four Chip!

Remember when UCLA hired Chip Kelly and he was going to be the guy who carries them up to the top of the Pac-12 Conference? That was 3 seasons and 31 games ago. And he has a record of 10-21 to show for it. That’s less than 4 wins a year. This ain’t Oregon, Chipper! The Bruins return their most experienced team in the Kelly era and maybe they are ready to make a move.

Defense: UCLA led the Pac-12 in sacks last year but gave up the second-most passing yards. They were involved in 4 offensive shootouts and lost all 4 of those contests. So, with 9 starters returning there is hope for a big improvement. The four best players are LB Caleb Johnson, Qwauntress Knight and Stephen Blaylock in the secondary, and Otto Ogbonnia upfront. These guys will be counted on to turnaround this side of the ball.

Offense: The offense has a chance to be good under the direction of 4th-year starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson who has improved every year as a passer and has the ability to make great plays with his feet. He has WR Kyle Philips (38 receptions for 370 yards) and All-America caliber TE Greg Dulcich. Running back Brittain Brown started only two games but one of those was a 219 yard performance against Stanford. The offensive line returns all five starters and is the most experienced of any group in recent years. The Bruins should score enough points.

Non-Conference Schedule:

8/28 Hawaii

9/4 LSU

9/18 Fresno State

The good news is all 3 non-con games are at home. The bad news is one of them is against LSU which is more than likely a loss. Hawaii and Fresno State are not easy either. They need to come out of this 2-1 but 0-3 is possible and that would be a disaster.

Conference Schedule:

9/25 at Stanford

10/2 Arizona State

10/9 at Arizona

10/16 at Washington

10/23 Oregon

10/30 at Utah

11/13 Colorado

11/20 at USC

11/27 California

This schedule is extra tough and it is hard to find many wins. They play every top contender in the conference. The home schedule has a couple of winnable games against Colorado and California that the Bruins need to win. Arizona State is possible but Oregon is not. Road games against Stanford, Washington, Utah, and USC are brutal. They might get a win at Arizona.

Summary: This will be Chip Kelly’s most talented and experienced team but there might not be much improvement in their record. The difficulty of the schedule would be a problem for a lot of teams in the Pac-12 as well. If they can win the games they are supposed too and spring an upset they have the talent to get bowl eligible.

Predicted Finish: 5th Place in Pac-12 South

Overall Record: 5-7

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