UCLA Football Game-by-Game Predictions 2022

Coming off their first winning season under coach Chip Kelly, the Bruins could potentially take another step forward this fall.

College football is back, and the Bruins are eying yet another winning season.

UCLA football kicks off its 2022 season Saturday, starting a run of 12 games in 13 weeks of action. The Bruins went 8-4 in 2021 after three consecutive losing seasons to open coach Chip Kelly’s tenure, but then lost over a dozen starters to the NFL Draft and transfer portal in the offseason.

Their replacements are all locked in, setting up a new-look team that could wind up achieving more than last year’s squad. How they all mesh together, though, remains to be seen, and their success could significantly impact the Bruins’ final record.

Last year, All Bruins accurately predicted that UCLA would go 8-4 with a 6-3 record in Pac-12 play and a possible Holiday Bowl appearance.

Here is how All Bruins thinks the 2022 season will shake out:

Sept. 3 vs. Bowling Green: Win
Record to Date: 1-0

The Falcons are probably the toughest team the Bruins will face in their nonconference schedule, but that isn’t saying much.

UCLA will win with ease.

Sept. 10 vs. Alabama State: Win
Record to Date: 2-0

Before this season, UCLA had never scheduled a game against a non-FBS opponent. They broke that streak by adding Alabama State to the slate when Michigan backed out, bringing in an FCS HBCU that hasn’t had a winning season since 2015.

As a result, the Bruins built in another easy win for themselves.

Sept. 17 vs. South Alabama: Win
Record to Date: 3-0

The Jaguars only reached FBS status in 2012, so in terms of prestige, they aren’t much higher in the college football ranks than Alabama State. In their 10 seasons at the top level, South Alabama has never had a winning season.

Maybe that changes in 2022, but UCLA beating them at the Rose Bowl won’t make that road any easier.

Sept. 24 at Colorado: Win
Record to Date: 4-0

Even when the Bruins face their first Power Five opponent, they should still have an easy enough time taking care of business.

The Buffaloes are almost unanimously seen as the worst team in the Pac-12, and they appear to have gotten significantly worse even since UCLA beat them 44-20 last November. Expect the same kind of result in 2022, even with the game taking place in Boulder.

Sept. 30 vs. Washington: Win
Record to Date: 5-0

The first true challenge on UCLA’s schedule is still a home game, and it’s against a team with a first-year head coach.

Kalen DeBoer did beat the Bruins at the Rose Bowl when he was working at Fresno State last season, so he and his retooled Huskies are not to be underestimated. However, UCLA won in Seattle last year and they still have Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet to run their highly-efficient offense through.

Oct. 8 vs. Utah: Loss
Record to Date: 5-1

This is where the Bruins’ luck will run out.

The Utes aren’t only the favorite to win the Pac-12, they’re also a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. Utah has beat UCLA five times in a row while scoring an average of 46.8 points per game in those matchups. In the last four meetings, the Bruins have lost by an average of 32 points.

If Thompson-Robinson is healthy, maybe UCLA can put up a better fight than they did in Salt Lake City last year. But Utah actually has the talent to exploit the Bruins’ weaknesses at right tackle, cornerback and linebacker, so they should be expected to emerge with the win again.

Oct. 22 at Oregon: Loss
Record to Date: 5-2

Kelly is 0-3 against his former team since joining the Bruins, and it’s tough to see that changing when they head up to Eugene this fall.

The last two showdowns between UCLA and Oregon came down to the last possession, with the Ducks winning by three each time. The first one of those was during a COVID season with no fans, and the next was at the Rose Bowl.

As long as Dan Lanning can really rally the program in his first year at Oregon, he should be able to give his already uber-talented team a solid homefield advantage to help fend off UCLA yet again.

Oct. 29 vs. Stanford: Win
Record to Date: 6-2

This might be David Shaw’s last season at Stanford, given how poor the Cardinal are expected to be this season.

UCLA took advantage of a weak Stanford team on the road last year, and they will likely do the same this year. Gone are the days of decade-long losing streaks to the rival up north, and the Cardinal really should not instill any sort of fear in Bruin fans’ hearts.

Nov. 5 at Arizona State: Win
Record to Date: 7-2

Being a road game late in the year, this could be a potential trap game for UCLA.

However, Arizona State is a program on fire right now, stuck in an endless loop of turmoil sparked by coach Herm Edwards and his staff. Bad recruiting and poor transfer management will sink them this year, and unless Emory Jones turns out to be a surprise Heisman candidate after coming in from Florida, the Bruins should be able to pick up the win in Tempe.

Nov. 12 vs. Arizona: Win
Record to Date: 8-2

The Wildcats are much improved from a year ago, but they are still deep in a reset and rebuild led by coach Jedd Fisch. In a total mirror reflection of Arizona State, Arizona has used the transfer portal to round out the roster well, and there is serious juice in their recruiting as well.

Regardless, Jayden de Laura and an improved offense won’t be enough to best a Bruin squad with a lot on the line late in the year.

UCLA won’t cough this one up, especially at home.

Nov. 19 vs. USC: Win
Record to Date: 9-2

How people will measure the success of the Bruins’ season comes down to three games – Utah, Oregon and USC. They don’t appear to be built to beat all three, but if they’re going to take down one, it will be their crosstown rivals.

This is a last chance of sorts for UCLA to assert its dominance in Los Angeles, considering Lincoln Riley is well on his way to returning USC to its spot atop the national college football hierarchy. In two years time, the Trojans could be right up there with the Alabamas, Ohio States and Clemsons of the world, so Bruin fans should cross their fingers and try to take these wins when they’re still on the table.

There has been so much turnover at USC, on the staff and roster, and perhaps it takes a year for everything to gel. Thompson-Robinson taking on Caleb Williams should be a quarterback showdown for the ages, and DTR might just come out on top in his final game against his biggest rival.

Nov. 25 at Cal: Loss
Record to Date: 9-3

The post-USC game has always been a trap for UCLA, which could end up putting all of its focus and energy into besting their No. 1 rival.

Cal will be hungry to win this Friday night game the day after Thanksgiving in Berkeley, and it may be too much for the Bruins to handle.

This isn’t a case of UCLA losing this one no matter what, but if Cal can prove to be a winning team by the time November rolls around, maybe that’s all they need. Kelly’s Bruins haven’t beaten a bowl eligible team in years, and this is a prime spot for one to best him yet again.

Still, a 9-3 season is a one-win improvement on the 2021 campaign, and it may not be far off from a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. That would probably require 10 wins, but flipping just one of those projected losses to a win is a pretty simple fix.

UCLA will likely end up in the Alamo Bowl, where it would face an opponent out of the Big 12.

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