Schedule analysis: UCLA

We're reviewing each Pac-12 team's schedule, and now we move on to the South Division.

Up next: UCLA

Breakdown: six home (four conference games), six road (five conference games)

Nonconference opponents (with 2010 records)

Sept. 3 at Houston (5-7)

Sept. 10 San Jose State (1-12)

Sept. 17 Texas (5-7)

South Division games

Oct. 20 at Arizona

Nov. 5 Arizona State

Nov. 12 at Utah

Nov. 19 Colorado

Nov. 26 at USC

Crossover games

Sept. 24 at Oregon State

Oct. 1 at Stanford

Oct. 8 Washington State

Oct. 29 California

Conference misses



Key stretch: UCLA plays four consecutive South Division foes over the final four weekends of the season, including the season-finale at rival USC. Last year, the Bruins started 3-2 but finished 1-6. Coach Rick Neuheisel can't afford another second-half slide. He needs a strong finish to ensure he's back in 2012.

Trap game: The Bruins open at Houston, a team it handled fairly easily last year, though Cougars quarterback Case Keenum was knocked out in the second quarter with a knee injury. Keenum will be back, and Houston is a different team with him. It won't be an easy opener, particularly on the road, but the Bruins could use some positive early momentum after a tumultuous offseason. They most assuredly shouldn't take the Cougars lightly based on what happened in 2010.

Sure thing: If UCLA loses to San Jose State, Neuheisel might not last until the following Sunday. But that won't happen.

Analysis: This is a tough schedule with two nonconference games UCLA could easily lose. Houston is a Conference USA favorite, and Texas can't possibly be as bad as it was in 2010. Further, the Longhorns figure to be be highly motivated to take revenge for an embarrassing 34-12 home loss last fall. Still, the schedule could be worse. Five conference games on the road isn't good, but missing Oregon and Washington -- two teams that whipped UCLA in 2010 -- works in the Bruins favor. Oct. 15 -- midseason -- is a good time for a bye. The elements figure to be an issue in only one road game -- at Utah on Nov. 12 -- and the home schedule could yield some fruit. It's hard to believe the finale at USC won't be meaningful for the Bruins bowl hopes and, perhaps, for Neuheisel's future.