Game is UCLA's 'Super Bowl'

LOS ANGELES - There are a handful of things at stake for UCLA this weekend. The Bruins have chance to improve ... an opportunity to start the season 2-0 ... oh, and the need to defend the honor of the entire Pacific 10 Conference.

Playing in Knoxville means another dance with SEC fans and media, as well as a game against the Vols. Those south of the Mason-Dixon line are convinced, with some justification, that there is no better conference than the SEC.

Pac-10 teams have a 3-16 record when traveling to an SEC town since 1980.

So what this game means to a young UCLA team is clear.

"This game is survival of the fittest," safety Rahim Moore said. "We beat them last season, and they've been waiting for this game. This game is going to determine how the rest of our season goes. . . . This is like the Super Bowl for us."

And what it means to the conference?

Well the perception down South seems to be: unless it's USC, don't sweat it, no matter how muggy it gets.

USC has a 2-1 record in SEC road games since 1980.

"USC has been so dominant over the last six or seven years, it is kind of seen as a one-and-done type conference," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.

"That's probably not fair. There have been some (Pac-10) teams who were really good the last couple years, but because they have not been able to break through in terms of winning the conference championship, it defines us that way."

Neuheisel said the time zone difference is part of the perception problem, but he feels the coverage of a conference that went 5-0 in bowl games last season was USC-heavy.

"Watch the story lines on the national broadcasts and 80-90 percent of the time it's focused on (USC)," Neuheisel said. "We have to fix that."

LSU's inability to destroy woeful Washington on Saturday can be looked on as a victory by the Pac-10. But a real victory would do a lot more.

"We're going into the Southeastern Conference, where football is a religion," Moore said. "This game will test us."

But, Moore said, "I think they underestimate (the Pac 10). They feel like it's the (Western Athletic Conference). They feel like a lot of our guys are soft. . . . I don't want to say anything about who is soft and who is hard. You can't label who is soft and who is tough until this weekend."

Moore added, "If football was for softies, everybody would be playing it."

Ground Control: UCLA's upset of Tennessee, 27-24, at the Rose Bowl last season still has fans, and even some coaches, scratching their heads. The Vols averaged 5.2 yards per carry, yet then-coach Phil Fulmer insisted on throwing the ball 42 times.

That mistake is unlikely to be repeated under first-year coach Lane Kiffin. The Vols rolled up 380 yards rushing in a 63-7 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday. Senior tailback Montario Hardesty had 160 yards and freshman tailback Bryce Brown had 104 yards.

"They have a gifted group of running backs," Neuheisel said. "It doesn't matter which one of those guys is out there, they are both sensational."

Injury Report: Tailback Christian Ramirez (ankle) and wide receiver Gavin Ketchum (hamstring) are both "doubtful at best," Neuheisel said. . . . Reserve strong safety Glenn Love suffered an ankle injury against San Diego State on Saturday, but is expected to play.

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Comments » 50

jasonsvols writes:

1st

VolDad4Life writes:

UT 45
UCLA 17

Chomp writes:

We'll have a better understanding as to what Tennessee is all about this week. UCLA is an "average" team at best, and they will have to fly across country (flying West to east is always the worst for jet lag). We'll see how UT handles the well deserved attention and acolades.

Jonboy writes:

in response to VolDad4Life:

UT 45
UCLA 17

sounds pretty good to me

MrBamSeydu writes:

UT 33 UCLA 20

volever writes:

UT 35 UCLA 6

CT_VOL writes:

Correction in caps:

They have a gifted group of running backs," Neuheisel said. "It doesn't matter which one of those guys is out there, ALL FOUR are sensational."

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

in response to Chomp:

We'll have a better understanding as to what Tennessee is all about this week. UCLA is an "average" team at best, and they will have to fly across country (flying West to east is always the worst for jet lag). We'll see how UT handles the well deserved attention and acolades.

Thanks for your comments to help the Vols out! The SEC needs to put a whoopin on the PAC 10 teams. Chavis did not stop Washington much at all when LSU played them. That was the Defense UCLA played last year. This year's defense is a whole lot faster and harder hitting. UCLA will not see the same team it played last year and 100,000 Vol fans should make sure their Freshman QB is welcome to Neyland stadium!

Go Vols - Orange Swarm!

GahLee writes:

Pac-10 teams aren't soft, just ask Blount,lol...but really, they are soft, we will be running the ball down their throat all day...Hardesty gets 100, Brown gets 60, Oku and Poole combine for 50...28-9.

GahLee writes:

They have a freshmen starting? I retract my final score if this is the case...38-6.

GahLee writes:

Just checked out ESPN and indeed Kevin Prince is a freshmen...we should beat them silly...he isn't ready for 100,000 crazed individuals...Go Vols!!!

xvolx writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Ohidiot. I'll take Tenn. and 7 for any amount you want. Put your money where your mouth is.

xvolx writes:

This article sounds like they don't respect UT. They believe we will roll over and play dead.

AceVentura writes:

OMG they have a RS freshman starting at QB, they're donezo. I had the score as 28-10 for us, but I'm saying 35-3 now. Our secondary is gonna eat 'em up like last year. We had 4 or 5 picks last year and this year it's not gonna get much better for them. We disguise our coverage better than last year and since we know they're gonna try to throw away from EB we'll move him around. Predictions EB 7tackles 3TFL 1sack 1INT. Hardesty 124rushing yards, Brown 87. Crompton 17-26 193 yards 2TDs.

Volin68 writes:

UCLA's days are numbered. Neuheisel has been surrounded by scandal and NCAA infractions every where he goes. He's the posterboy Rogue football programs. I'm quite surprised he's not been hired by alabama.

UT 38
ucla 17

Voluvr writes:

Dirtybama and Georgia look to be the disappointments of the east and west this year. High hopes initially, but both teams appear to be stagnant on offense. Alabama with the edge on defense, but you have to be able to score. Not what you would call well rounded championship teams.

AceVentura writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Dirtybama and Georgia look to be the disappointments of the east and west this year. High hopes initially, but both teams appear to be stagnant on offense. Alabama with the edge on defense, but you have to be able to score. Not what you would call well rounded championship teams.

I disagree. Bama's qb looked decent against a tough D and their O-line looked good even though they lost a couple of players on that line. They can still run the ball and they have a playmaker at WR. And that D is just freaking nasty man. They'll win the West again.

Voluvr writes:

It's obvious that just as Spurrier rewrote the book in college football, Kiffin & Co. has already begun to elevate the game. Their intensity and work ethic is unmatched. They are the number one team in the SEC and the country likely to be dominant for the next decade.

This will further make Orange Envy run deep and wide.

Voluvr writes:

in response to AceVentura:

I disagree. Bama's qb looked decent against a tough D and their O-line looked good even though they lost a couple of players on that line. They can still run the ball and they have a playmaker at WR. And that D is just freaking nasty man. They'll win the West again.

Not what I saw. Their line got whooped by an unproven team. They lucked up and finally turned the game, but they should have blown them out.

I am sick and tired of Dirtybama embarrasing the SEC with not just cheating, but getting a top rank then stinking it up. They almost blew the other night. They are also going to lose to Tennessee at home. You can book that.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to robvols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is. At lease for the nearly 50 years I've lived in Calif.

AceVentura writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Not what I saw. Their line got whooped by an unproven team. They lucked up and finally turned the game, but they should have blown them out.

I am sick and tired of Dirtybama embarrasing the SEC with not just cheating, but getting a top rank then stinking it up. They almost blew the other night. They are also going to lose to Tennessee at home. You can book that.

I hate Bama, but you do realize they put up 498 yards of offense against the #7 team in the nation. VaTech has one of the best Ds in the nation year after year. Everyone expected a low scoring game. The only thing Bama gave up was that long kick return. I'm not sure which game you watched but the one i watch Bama looked like a really good team.

AceVentura writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Not what I saw. Their line got whooped by an unproven team. They lucked up and finally turned the game, but they should have blown them out.

I am sick and tired of Dirtybama embarrasing the SEC with not just cheating, but getting a top rank then stinking it up. They almost blew the other night. They are also going to lose to Tennessee at home. You can book that.

They also put up 268 rushing yards and time of possession was Bama 37 minutes VaTech 23. I'm just not seeing where you're coming from. But if you're trying to say that you hate Bama and everything they stand for then I'll agree with that.

OranjNmemphis writes:

in response to CT_VOL:

Correction in caps:

They have a gifted group of running backs," Neuheisel said. "It doesn't matter which one of those guys is out there, ALL FOUR are sensational."

This is true my friend. Just keep fresh legs in the backfield and we'll be fine!

OranjNmemphis writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have got to be drinking some serious brew my Friend. This is a joke right!?! The orangenation gets a shut-out! Dig-Dat!

croweman writes:

Vols-42 - Total Yards-455
UCLA-13 - Total Yards-186

JC will have 220 yards passing and the Vols will be 2-0 when this game ends.

tino2009 writes:

in response to CT_VOL:

Correction in caps:

They have a gifted group of running backs," Neuheisel said. "It doesn't matter which one of those guys is out there, ALL FOUR are sensational."

"amen" to that...

Bloodrunzorange writes:

There is no way they are beating us this year! 100k strong! It's Time! Go Vols! Let's make their trip back to Cally a LONG trip! See ya Saturday!

Docrok writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know it never ceases to amaze me the garbage that people put on! No matter which team it is whenever the SEC is playing out of conference I believe the SEC wins and even root for the team! Yet you hope for a UT loss! My first question is WHY????????? Lets say for arguements sake that Bama is 13 -0 at the end of the season. But wait a minute, so is USC, Texas, Penn State, and BYU. OK now lets say UCLA beat TN, that doesnt help AL need to get in the National Title game and continue the SEC dominance of the past several years! I detest AL and FL however I was rooting for AL despite how pitiful they played in the first half! Yea it was VA Tech but they ALWAYS have a terrible offense! But I digress, AL played impressively the 4th quarter and won. Point is if you have such great faith in your team you should be rooting for TN this weekend too!

gogreen writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Dirtybama and Georgia look to be the disappointments of the east and west this year. High hopes initially, but both teams appear to be stagnant on offense. Alabama with the edge on defense, but you have to be able to score. Not what you would call well rounded championship teams.

Well at least bama and georgia played tough teams unlike ut playing a bottom tier school. farragut high school could have beaten western ky. why doesn't the "great" kiff play a decent team???? can't wait till florida puts tenn where it belongs.

Docrok writes:

in response to AceVentura:

They also put up 268 rushing yards and time of possession was Bama 37 minutes VaTech 23. I'm just not seeing where you're coming from. But if you're trying to say that you hate Bama and everything they stand for then I'll agree with that.

The majority of those rushing yards came in the fourth quarter against a likely tired opponent as the Tech defense spent too much time on the field the first three quarters. VA Techs Offense is never that good so its hard to qualify Bama's D as Nasty just yet! I am not saying that Bama is not a great team because I think they are the second best in the west! Ole Miss likely to overtake them this year. But back to AL they are defninitely great team with a quality win, But lets not crown them or FL just yet!

chad_t31 writes:

Responding to a couple of posts...

Ohbama...you brought up Wyoming. What about Louisiana-monroe?? That's what I thought...stfu.

To the person who knows nothing about advanced scheduling: kiffin had nothing to do with scheduling wku. It was done before he got there...just like UNC, OSU, OU, and NEB games in the next 8 years were scheduled in advance. Get a clue troll.

drvol writes:

in response to xvolx:

This article sounds like they don't respect UT. They believe we will roll over and play dead.

I agree completely. Sounds like they think they won last year, so it's only a foregone conclusion that they'll repeat. They obviously don't realize our D is significantly improved (even from a top ten ranked D last year) and the offense will now actually commit to running first.

Which brings me to ask this question. I know it's early and we've only got one game under our belts against a less than average team, but does anyone out there think we could end up with two 1000-yard rushers this season? I know that question sounds like a crazed optimistic fan, but I'm just curious if anyone thinks it could happen.

keepitreal4vols writes:

KICK THEIR BRUIN AS$$$$$$$$$

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Not what I saw. Their line got whooped by an unproven team. They lucked up and finally turned the game, but they should have blown them out.

I am sick and tired of Dirtybama embarrasing the SEC with not just cheating, but getting a top rank then stinking it up. They almost blew the other night. They are also going to lose to Tennessee at home. You can book that.

I hate Bammer as much as any self-respecting UT fan, but they outgained VT by more than 3-to-1! They didn't score as much as they should have in piling up that much of a yardage advantage, but the game wasn't really as close as the score, IMHO. It would have looked much more lopsided if not for VT's kick-off return TD.

ChattMac writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Most Vol fans know that we have and have had the talent to contend for the NC every year. We just needed a coach who would utilize it properly. I love how we are being down-played...A guy on the SEC network was talking about how he didn't think the Vols were thinking bowl game this year...What an idiot. 1. The team and staff isn't thinking it?? 2. We only gotta win 1 more than we won last year.
It shouldn't take much to win every game. The number one thing is finishing drives and not turning the ball over. If you remember, amazingly last years team had the #6 defense, even with 3rd and Chavis. If our offense had just run straight up the gut we would have won 3 or 4 more games. Turn-overs and just plain ineptitude cost us dearly. The defense was even more impressive considering how long they were on the field because of our offensive offense. We have talent at least 3 deep at almost every position. You guys have Julio Jones and a rookie QB. And don't forget, this game goes to the road team most years for some strange reason. I guess the pressure to win gets to the home team. I think we are going to shock the conference and the nation this year and for years to come!! GO VOLS!!!

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to BIGGEST_UT_FAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll drink to that, Big Fan!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to gogreen:

Well at least bama and georgia played tough teams unlike ut playing a bottom tier school. farragut high school could have beaten western ky. why doesn't the "great" kiff play a decent team???? can't wait till florida puts tenn where it belongs.

Hey, DA, that game was on the schedule WAY before anyone around here had ever HEARD of Kiffin! If you don't know any more about college football than that, don't embarrass yourself by posting on here again. Sheesh!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Docrok:

The majority of those rushing yards came in the fourth quarter against a likely tired opponent as the Tech defense spent too much time on the field the first three quarters. VA Techs Offense is never that good so its hard to qualify Bama's D as Nasty just yet! I am not saying that Bama is not a great team because I think they are the second best in the west! Ole Miss likely to overtake them this year. But back to AL they are defninitely great team with a quality win, But lets not crown them or FL just yet!

Well, that pretty much IS Bama's traditional game plan. Even in their best years, they were never famous for parading up and down the field. They pound and pound until the other team drops, which often DOES take three quarters to happen.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I sincerely hope we can oblige you in style! Thanks for the good wishes!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to drvol:

I agree completely. Sounds like they think they won last year, so it's only a foregone conclusion that they'll repeat. They obviously don't realize our D is significantly improved (even from a top ten ranked D last year) and the offense will now actually commit to running first.

Which brings me to ask this question. I know it's early and we've only got one game under our belts against a less than average team, but does anyone out there think we could end up with two 1000-yard rushers this season? I know that question sounds like a crazed optimistic fan, but I'm just curious if anyone thinks it could happen.

I don't think it's unreasonable to think we might have two 1000-yard rushers this year. The biggest variable will likely be the continued good health of our O-line. Despite some earlier predictions, I don't think we will see a steady diet of 8- and 9-man fronts against most teams. We will be able to pass well enough to keep most defenses honest, and both Hardesty and Brown have enough speed to break off long runs.

PennVol writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just bear-ly a game?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tis" true barring a total breakdown; Bama easily wins the west;way too much 2 deep talent. Jones looks scary good;only Eric Berry could slow him down;The defensive play calling is a bit strange though..One series it's brillant and the next baffling.

Volomatic writes:

UT 52
UCLA 10

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OhMama - you again?
Hey, congrats on the bama victory - you beat a very, very overrated VT team and it took you nearly the whole game to do it!
The VOLS are just fine - we'll see how they do against the Tide. It won't be like last year, I can assure you.

Joevolsxtra writes:

in response to gogreen:

Well at least bama and georgia played tough teams unlike ut playing a bottom tier school. farragut high school could have beaten western ky. why doesn't the "great" kiff play a decent team???? can't wait till florida puts tenn where it belongs.

The "great Kiff" didn't make the schedule you big dummy! Do you even follow football?

samurainate writes:

Vols 27
UCLA 17

volpreacher writes:

I just don't understand you guys thinking that UCLA can score 17-24 points on this defense. This is going to be one of the best defenses in the nation again this year and we don't have to worry about those 3rd downs from Chavis anymore? I don't see Fla. scoring 24 on us, so how do you think UCLA will? The only way would be a turnover returned or scores against the subs like what happened with WKU. I'm upping my prediction. I say 35-7 UT.

xvolx writes:

If the Tenn. game is their "superbowl", I guess they won't show up for Southern Cal.

LibertyVolance writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How many times do you need to be told? UT was 5 & 7 last year. Not 7-5 or 6-7 or 7-6. They were 5-7.
I agree that Bama looked impressive against a real good VT defense. I also agree that UT is still unproven since they have played nobody.

johnlg00 writes:

While I pretty much agree that it is the JOB of a fan to be optimistic, I think some of you are getting a little carried away with these score predictions. Not only did UCLA beat us last year, they are a year farther along in their rebuilding process than we are. We are rightly proud of our new coaching staff, but they have some pretty good coaches, too. I think UT will win for a variety of reasons, not least because of a young QB making his first road start against us, but, while I would NEVER bet against UT, I am strongly tempted to take some of you guys up on your 30- and 40-point predicted margins. "I could be wrong, now; but I don't think so." (From the theme for the TV show "Monk", one of the best shows ever; too bad this is its last season.) And I would be THRILLED to be wrong!

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