Preview 2015 - Rankings
No. 3: UCLA
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2015 CFN Preseason Rankings
No. 1 | No. 2 | No. 3 | No. 4 | 5 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50
51 to 60 | 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 128
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There's one very important distinction in the CFN preseason rankings: these are based on how good the teams are going into the season and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell, meaning they might be better than their final record indicates. Going into the year, these are how good the teams appear to be from No. 1 through 128.
2014 CFN Season Ranking: 12 2015 Prediction: 11-1
3 Best Players: 1) LB Myles Jack, Jr. 2) RB Paul Perkins, Jr. 3) C Jake Brendel, Sr.
Relative Strengths: 1) Secondary, 2) Linebacker, 3) Running Back
Not Quite As Strong ... 1) Quarterback, 2) Receiver, 3) Special Teams
The season will be a success if … the Bruins rise to the top of the South Division. After blowing a chance to play in last December’s Pac-12 title game, UCLA is understandably eager for redemption and a chance to finally play up to its talent level. Its biggest challenge will be replacing Brett Hundley, but Jim Mora’s staff continues to stockpile talent as well as anyone in the conference. Whoever gets the nod behind center - rookie Josh Rosen or veteran Jerry Neuheisel –had better be comfortable on the road, because the Bruins face Arizona, Stanford and USC away from the Rose Bowl.
What to watch for on offense: The Rosen Bowl? Jim Mora hasn’t named a successor to Brett Hundley, and doesn’t plan to do so until August. But anyone monitoring the competition this spring could plainly see that true freshman Josh Rosen is the most talented quarterback on the roster. Sure, he doesn’t have the snaps or the locker room gravitas of Jerry Neuheisel. However, Rosen has the superior arm talent, and his maturity and football IQ are exceptional for such a young player. With the next few months to dig his heels in deeper, he’s capable of turning this race into a rout by the end of the first week of fall camp.
What to watch for on defense: Blame it on Rios. How good will the UCLA secondary be this fall? First Team All-Pac-12 CB Ishmael Adams is in danger of getting bumped to nickel by junior Marcus Rios, one of the fastest rising Bruins this offseason. A spot player in 2014 after missing all of 2013 with a life-threatening fungal infection, Rios was dynamite in April. He’s returned to his usual fighting weight, and is four inches taller than Adams. If Rios remains atop the depth chart at corner, UCLA’s B team, which also includes rising S Tahaan Goodman, will be as skilled as any in the Pac-12.
The team will be far better if… someone other than OLB Deon Hollins harasses quarterbacks this fall. Hollins notched nine sacks in 2014, and will continue to be a guided missile off the edge. But Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA’s best pass-rushing lineman, is now a New York Giant. And while Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark are next-level linemen, too, they’re also north of 300 pounds. The Bruins need a superior athlete, like Takkarist McKinley, to collapse the pocket, because it was not a coincidence that this team had just three sacks in last season’s three losses.