The Cougars head to Pasadena, Saturday September 9th, to face the UCLA Bruins led by head coach Jim Mora Jr.. I was pleased to get with Mike W. R. of GoJoeBruin.com for this game preview and travel guide for the BYU fans making the trip out to The Rose Bowl.
These two schools aren’t unfamiliar foes. Cougar fans definitely remember the last time these two squads met. So do Bruin fans, according to Mike:
Q: Has there been enough time for UCLA fans to forget about what happened in 2008, or is there revenge on their minds?
Nope. We remember and WE WANT REVENGE! That was of course a bad game for the Bruins but it was also in a different time. Former coach Rick Neuheisel lead that Bruin team at that time, but now things are different under Jim Mora. I guarantee there will not be anything close to a 59-0 loss. Along with coaching, the Bruins have talent and are deep.
Q: UCLA and BYU are no strangers to each other. How does Bruin Nation view the BYU football program as a whole?
Tough. Always tough. There is a reason BYU Football has the respect of the Bruins and it is because the Cougars always put out a good team every year. Last season was unfortunate with the loss of QB Taysom Hill early in the season, but that changes with him healthy this year, although it is unfortunate that BYU lost RB Jamaal Williams, but still, there is a lot of talent and experience on this Cougars team.
Q: Do you think BYU belongs in a power five conference?
That is not for me to say, but I think it will help them, especially with the new College Football Playoff specifically looking at teams in Power 5 Conferences. The only team I think it helps is Notre Dame, but not by much. There is a lot of emphasis put on teams that navigate through tough conferences like the Pac-12 and the SEC.
Q: Jim Mora Jr. is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Bruins. What are fans expecting of his team in 2015?
Many of us at GoJoeBruin.com share the sentiment that this is the best team in the Mora era. Even college football guru Phil Steele believes that. The only thing that would be a knock on the Bruins is the fact that they have not named a starting quarterback, though many believe freshman Josh Rosen will be the starter and boy does he look good!
*note: Josh Rosen was indeed named the starting quarterback for the Bruins after the conversation Mike and I had for this piece.
Q: Besides the obvious resorts and the ocean being nearby, what are some under the radar or perhaps, underrated or more unheard of places that you’d recommend for BYU fans to visit?
An L.A. geography question! I would be glad to answer this!First off, note that the Rose Bowl is in Pasadena which is a distance from Downtown LA, Hollywood and the beaches, so BYU fans need to plan out if they are going just for the game or want to explore LA. If you are just going for the game, get a place around Old Town Pasadena. There are tons of food and shopping. There is also a free shuttle to the Rose Bowl. If you are looking for a mini-vacation, stay close to the places you want to visit. For example, if you want the beach, head to Santa Monica (though it is about a 30 drive to Pasadena without traffic). If any BYU fans have any specific questions, I would be happy to help them out.
There is great food all over LA. Pasadena itself has several pubs and eateries with different menus. It just depends on where you want to go. If by chance you stay in Downtown LA, stay near LA Live and Staples Center which has really blown up lately with a lot of great restaurants.
Tailgating at the Rose Bowl is a fun event. The Rose Bowl is on a golf course so tailgating happens on grass on the north side of the stadium. South of the stadium are a lot of pre game/tailgate festivities sponsored by UCLA and a few local businesses. For example, Ralphs (market) has a tailgate area and for $25 you have access to all-you-can-eat buffet, drink tickets, musical entertainment as well as TVs around the area showing national football games.
There is the Bruin Walk where the UCLA Football team marches through the tailgating area to the stadium. It is a chance to see the team up close and cheer them on before they take the field. Other than that, it is just a fun and festive time hanging out before the game at one of the most scenic stadiums in the world.
WILL DO! At least we will try… those Utes are tough!