Monday, June 13, 2011

UCLA Football: Does Rick Neuheisel Have a Realistic Chance to Save His Job?

Almost everyone will agree that Rick Neuheisel's days in Westwood are numbered. This has to make you think, is there really anything that he can do to save his job?

There are, of course, certain extenuating events that could instantaneously take him off the hot seat, like going undefeated or making a BCS bowl.  However, no one in their right mind is predicting the Bruins to go that far.

When you think about it, with USC banned from post season play, the Pac-12 South title is really a reachable goal for every team in that division.  While Utah and Arizona State are receiving a ton of buzz this off-season to take the inaugural crown, they are hardly shoe-ins. Utah could definitely struggle in this much tougher conference and the Sun Devils are no strangers to falling short of their preseason hype.

If the Bruins manage to finish second behind USC and even if they get annihilated in the Championship game, it should be enough to save Neuheisel's job for at least another year…mainly because it would be an absolute miracle to see UCLA in that game.

When it comes down to a hard number, Neuheisel’s will probably need his Bruins to win seven or more games in 2011 to keep his job safe... a .500 season just won’t cut it. 

There is a wide array of uncertainty revolving around the Bruins this off-season, making it difficult to see how Neuheisel’s future will unfold.

For starters, UCLA's offense is more questionable than a van with a "free candy" sign  parked in front of a grade school.  Although their running game has potential with Johnathan Franklin carrying the load, Bruins fans have been waiting forever for a quarterback that doesn't suck. Unfortunately, this probably won't be the year either.

UCLA's defense is also a bit of a concern.  While their reliability dipped drastically last season, there is still decent potential on all three levels. If Neuheisel is going to save his job, he will probably need to lean heavily on this side of the ball.

Keeping games close and winning low scoring affairs will be the key to UCLA's success. However, with the high octane offenses in the Pac-12, this will be no easy task.

In all likelihood, Neueheisel is gone after the end of this season because of yet another sub-.500 record.  But Hollywood is all about the miracle story, so don’t count them out just yet.

UCLA 2011 Record Prediction: 5-7