Oregon State vs. UCLA: Are the Bruins for Real with a Win?

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst ISeptember 22, 2012

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 08:   Running back Johnathan Franklin #23 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates after a 54 yard run to the 21 yard line in the fourth quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Rose Bowl on September 8, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 36-30.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The UCLA Bruins are a very good football team, but they are still looking for respect. They had a very big win over then-No. 16 Nebraska and are 3-0 on the season as they enter today’s Pac-12 tilt with the Oregon State Beavers.

The Bruins are currently ranked No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and will finally get the respect they deserve if they take down the Beavers. It took the Bruins 78 weeks to get back into the top 25 and they don’t want to leave anytime soon.   A win would launch the Bruins into first in the Pac-12 South division and the team would be 4-0 for the first time since 2005.

However, Oregon State is not a team to be taken lightly.

The Beavers enter this game well-rested and brimming with confidence that was instilled in the team after beating the Wisconsin Badgers. The Beavers will play on the road against two ranked Pac-12 teams and they could get some room in the standings along with respect if they sweep both games.

UCLA knows that they have to take this game seriously and it all starts with the strong running of tailback Johnathan Franklin.  Franklin is the nation’s leading rusher and will be tested against the hard-hitting run defense of the Oregon State Beavers.

The UCLA offense has fared well overall on the season as they average 622 yards per game, which is good for No. 2 in the nation. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is responsible for resurrecting the Bruins offense with his spread scheme that seemingly moves the ball at will. This offense focuses on the strength of the talent and will only get better as the season continues.

The change in the Bruins swagger can be attributed to coach Jim Mora. Mora will get his first taste of Pac-12 action against the Beavers this afternoon. It’s the professional approach to the game that is putting UCLA back on the map as a college football team worthy of contender status.

This game will be very important in the conference as both of these teams look to make their mark on the college football map and finally get the respect that they deserve.

James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at jtsneaks@gmail.com. He also is a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website.