2012 Holiday Bowl: Getting to know UCLA

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Baylor's opponent on Thursday appears to be headed in the right direction after a long stretch of mediocrity.

Who They Are: UCLA is a 9-4 team from the Pac-12 that is currently ranked No. 17 team in the country. Due to a quirk in scheduling, they are coming off two consecutive losses to Stanford, one in the regular season and one in the Pac-12 Championship Game. While the Air Raid offense has become all the rage in both the Pac-12 and the Big 12, the Bruins are one of the rare teams whose offense is built around the run game, headlined by do-everything senior RB Johnathan Franklin.

Who They Played: UCLA made quick work of two Texas-area teams (Rice and Houston) in non-conference play and they defeated Nebraska in a 36-30 home win. They got off to a slow start in conference play, losing to Oregon State at home and getting blown out at Cal, before reeling off five straight wins to win the Pac-12 South Championship, most notably a 38-28 victory over archrival USC, who has dominated the cross-town rivalry for most of the last decade.

Who To Watch: The Bruins certainly got their money's worth from their scholarship check to Franklin, who had an eye-popping usage total this season: 1,700 rushing yards and 13 TD's on 6.3 yards per carry, 32 receptions for 310 yards and 2 receiving TD's. At 5'11 195 with a 4.4 40, Franklin lacks the ideal size of a starting NFL RB, so he's currently projected to be a mid-round pick and a probably 3rd-down back at the next level.

You Might Have Heard Of: First-year head coach Jim Mora Jr., the scion of a football coaching family most memorable for Sr.'s "playoffs! playoffs?" rant that has appeared in numerous beer commercials. Mora has had relatively unsuccessful stints as a head man for the Seahawks and the Falcons, but he appears to have found a home at UCLA, where he has led the Bruins to their best season in seven years. A win on Thursday would give UCLA only their second 10-win season since 1998.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SB Nation Dallas

You must be a member of SB Nation Dallas to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Dallas. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Dallas

You must be a member of SB Nation Dallas to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Dallas. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.