Why UCLA could win the Pac-12

This is the fourth in a series of articles about teams from each of the Power 5 conferences that will be surprisingly better or worse than currently expected.

It might seem like the UCLA Bruins' stock is trending down, as they are slated to finish as low as fifth in the Pac-12. This is understandable given that the program lost quarterback Brett Hundley, arguably the most prolific quarterback in the program's history, to the NFL.

But as daunting as replacing Hundley will be, the Bruins still have more than enough firepower to win the Pac-12 championship for the first time since 1998.

Here are 10 reasons UCLA could win a conference title in 2015.

(Note: Unless otherwise specified, the metrics referenced below are from games against Power 5 opponents and the rankings indicate UCLA's placement among the 65 Power 5 teams.)

1. One of the best running backs in the country

Last season Paul Perkins ranked fourth nationally in rushing yards (1,477). Perkins displayed plenty of home run ability, as he ranked third nationally in rushes of 10 or more yards (43) and fourth in yards per carry among backs with 200 or more carries (6.5). He will be the centerpiece of this offense and could end up contending for the Heisman Trophy.