The Bruins start their 2021 season against a Hawai’i team with a head coach who knows a thing or two about the Pac-12.
Hawai’i has had three straight winning seasons, including last year under first-year head coach Todd Graham. The former Arizona State coach led the Sun Devils from 2012 to 2017, compiling a 46-32 record, including a Pac-12 South title in 2013. This year, Hawai’i won’t feature the high-flying offenses we’ve come to know from the Warriors, but their defense should be stout. With nearly everyone returning from a strong defensive effort in 2020, Hawai’i could contend for a trip to the Mountain West title game.
Going into a fourth season under Chip Kelly, expectations are high for UCLA. The Bruins return quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson for his fourth year as a starter and added a transfer running back in Zach Charbonnet from Michigan to pair with last year’s transfer tailback, Brittain Brown. If the Bruin’s improved defense from 2020 carries over into 2021, the pieces are in place for UCLA’s best season under Kelly. UCLA will be looking to head to their first bowl game since 2017 and have their first season above .500 since 2015.
The Bruins are a heavy favorite in this contest but this Hawai’i squad is looking to prove itself and won’t go down without a fight.