Best- and worst-case situations for 2022 UCLA Bruins soccer

The working again might dart into the Heisman Trophy race by halftime of the primary sport. The quarterback doubtless will set college information. The dual edge rushers would possibly pack a wallop that leaves their targets seeing double.

One doesn’t should squint to note all of the methods UCLA not solely might contend for the Pac-12 Convention title for the primary time beneath coach Chip Kelly, but additionally win the factor in a runaway.

The Bruins are skilled at important positions, they’re more likely to pile up factors, they could possibly be significantly higher on protection.

And but …

There stay extra questions than per week’s price of “Jeopardy!” because the staff nears its season opener towards Bowling Inexperienced on Sept. 3 on the Rose Bowl.

The depth at linebacker is frighteningly skinny. The offensive line is changing three starters. The protection, whereas promising, is unproven.

So will the Bruins be 11-1 and enjoying for the Pac-12 title in early December? Or 7-5 with renewed requires Kelly’s head?

Listed here are the best- and worse-case situations for UCLA heading into the season:

Best-case situation

UCLA working again Zach Charbonnet runs to the top zone for a landing towards the Hawaii on Aug. 28, 2021 on the Rose Bowl.

(Ashley Landis / Related Press)

There ought to be little drama moreover the harm report within the early weeks.

A nonconference schedule that includes Bowling Inexperienced, Alabama State and South Alabama goes to check solely followers’ persistence.

Be happy to pencil within the Bruins as 3-0 heading into their first convention sport, on the highway towards Colorado, adopted by a house sport towards Washington. Contemplating the Buffaloes’ early success beneath coach Karl Dorrell seems to be an aberration and the Huskies stay in rebuilding mode beneath first-year coach Kalen DeBoer, make it 5-0.

That units up what ought to be the largest sport of the Kelly period — the undefeated Bruins towards defending Pac-12 champion Utah on Oct. 8 on the Rose Bowl. A battle of unbeatens could be so big that UCLA would possibly even should take away the tarp masking the highest of 1 finish zone part to accommodate extra followers.

By this level, working again Zach Charbonnet has joined Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and the opposite common suspects within the Heisman Trophy chatter. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson could have continued his ascent up the college document charts, nearing marks set by Cade McNown, Brett Hundley and John Sciarra.

New names emerge as stars. Twin edge rushers Gabriel and Grayson Murphy pile up so many sacks they safe identify, picture and likeness offers with Albertson’s. Huge receiver Jake Bobo virtually single-handedly — properly, he does often use each fingers — offsets the misplaced manufacturing of departed pass-catchers Kyle Philips and Greg Dulcich. Linebacker Darius Muasau turns the center of the sphere right into a hazard zone for anybody venturing into his territory.

Keep in mind that horrible-to-middling UCLA protection, the one sustained weak point throughout Kelly’s first 4 seasons? It’s gone.

The Bruins turn into not solely stout towards the run but additionally muck up opposing passing assaults due to a secondary that includes playmaking cornerback Devin Kirkwood. New defensive coordinator Invoice McGovern, whose resume is eerily paying homage to that of his predecessor, reveals himself as a Renaissance man working an aggressive scheme.

The wins pile up. Far more than metropolis bragging rights are on the road when the Bruins face USC on Nov. 19 on the Rose Bowl.

One other victory over the Trojans — albeit a lot tighter — is a prelude to UCLA returning to the Pac-12 championship sport Dec. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the Bruins’ first look within the title sport since 2012.

Every little thing’s developing roses. After an interminable wait, the Bruins have an opportunity to return to their dwelling stadium in early January for the primary time in almost a quarter-century.

Worst-case situation

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is tackled by a USC defender.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is tackled by a USC defender on the Coliseum on Nov. 20, 2021.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Instances)

The highway to disappointment begins with three wins however ominous foreshadowing.

One nonconference sport is unexpectedly shut, and some accidents present how skinny the staff is at linebacker and alongside the offensive line.

Thompson-Robinson spends the early season scrambling away from defenders who fly into the backfield with out a lot resistance.

In the meantime, no person has established himself as a succesful working mate for Charbonnet within the Bruins’ two-back system. The tight ends are stable however unspectacular, nobody stirring any reminders of the drive Dulcich turned over his closing two seasons.

An early stumble in Pac-12 play removes appreciable luster from what was imagined to be a showdown towards Utah. The Utes reinforce their convention supremacy with a powerful victory on the Rose Bowl, successfully eliminating the Bruins from the Pac-12 race by early October.

The protection that was imagined to be rejuvenated runs like a automobile with 250,000 miles that hasn’t had a tune-up in 5 years however obtained a recent coat of paint. The go protection continues to leak yardage and late UCLA leads are misplaced due to an incapability to generate important stops. McGovern proves to be Jerry Azzinaro 2.0.

A yr after being embarrassed by its rival at dwelling, USC returns the favor with a three-touchdown triumph on the Rose Bowl. Because the Bruins trudge off the sphere in defeat, they’re serenaded by “Conquest” from the Trojans band.

Media who picked UCLA to complete fourth within the Pac-12 are confirmed appropriate. UCLA finally makes it to Allegiant Stadium … for the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17.