Can Steve Alford survive UCLA's struggles?

It's clear things aren't going swimmingly in Westwood right now -- and head coach Steve Alford is well aware.

After UCLA suffered its fifth loss in seven games on Saturday, Alford said there was "no issue with that with me" and that "I'm a man of God, so I've got an audience of one."

"You know, obviously with its fans, whether it be at UCLA or anywhere else, you always have those opinions," Alford told reporters following the 80-66 loss to Ohio State.

We've been down this path before with Alford, as there has been a segment of UCLA fans disgruntled for several years now. In 2016, a banner reading "UCLA deserves better, fire Alford!" was flown over campus. Last season, there was another banner flying over campus: "Final Fours Not First Fours #FireAlford." Back in 2016, after a 15-17 campaign, Alford returned the one-year contract extension he signed in October 2014 and essentially apologized to fans in a letter.

This season feels slightly different than past years, however, because there's not an elite recruiting class coming down the pike. After the 2015-16 season, the Bruins brought in a top-five class that included Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf. After last season's First Four exit, UCLA had the No. 3 class in the country lined up. Right now, UCLA not only doesn't have an elite group coming, it doesn't have a top-25 class; it has three four-star prospects, led by wing Jaime Jaquez Jr. (No. 72 in the ESPN 100).

Moreover, after the 2016 season, Alford had still been to two Sweet 16s in three years. After last season, it was still three in five. If the Bruins continue to struggle -- 7-5 is actually the school's worst record through 12 games since the 2011 season -- then suddenly it will be back-to-back years without reaching the second Thursday of the NCAA tournament.

And remember, this is the same program that fired Ben Howland -- who had led UCLA to three Final Fours -- the same month he won the Pac-12 title and went to the NCAA tournament.

So let's answer some questions about the status of UCLA's program: What's wrong? Can it be fixed? And what might be next?