Cincinnati enters this season having finished with a second consecutive losing season for the first time since 1998-99. Making the cross-country journey to UCLA will be an immediate challenge for Cincy.
Luke Fickell wanted a head coaching job and after 10 seasons at Ohio State, Cincinnati was easy. Fickell has the pedigree for success, being a top-notch assistant and a strong recruiter, but can he deliver W’s?
He’s walked into two tough situations, with Cincinnati and after Jim Tressel was fired in Columbus. His record as a coach is 10-15 and his offense was the worst in the American in points scored (20.9) and yards per game (351.8). Fickell does have a veteran quarterback in Hayden Moore and two solid pass catchers in Kahlil Lewis and Thomas Geddis. Yet, only Lewis has a possible All-AAC chance and the offensive line is thought to be among the worst in the conference.
UCLA starts anew with Chip Kelly back in the Pac-12, probably where he belongs. Expectations are not high for this Bruins squad, picked 4th in the Pac-12 West. But that will change in time when Kelly can really start recruiting in the fertile Los Angeles area.