12 things UCLA must do to win Pac-12 in its farewell season

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall (10) passes the ball during a college football game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Oct. 20, 2021 at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina.

(Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
)

At first glance, UCLA’s schedule looks like another Football Championship Subdivision-sprinkled cakewalk. For the second year in a row, there’s no Power Five nonconference opponent, just two relative nobodies plus a FCS gimme in North Carolina Central. The Bruins also get to skip Oregon and Washington as part of their Pac-12 rotation.

But …

Name recognition issues aside, Coastal Carolina is bringing back fifth-year quarterback Grayson McCall — not to mention his top three receivers — and has gone 31-7 over the last three seasons.

San Diego State will host the Bruins at Snapdragon Stadium, where the Aztecs need their first signature victory going into their second season at the 35,000-seat venue. The big-boys-up-Interstate-5 intimidation factor will be gone after San Diego State broke through in 2019 at the Rose Bowl for its first victory over UCLA in school history after having previously gone 0-21-1.

As far as Pac-12 play goes, UCLA’s three toughest games — against USC, Utah and Oregon State — are all on the road. Steady play from the Bruins’ new starting quarterback is going to be required to win any of those games.

Which brings us to …