10-2 overall, 6-2 conference, 1st Pac-10
Against the spread
7-5 (6-1 home, 1-4 away, 6-4 grass)
10-2 (6-1 home, 4-1 away, 8-2 grass)
+.50 per game
2005 Season Summary
It seemed as if UCLA head football coach Karl Dorrell was on the hot seat from the very day he arrived at Westwood after a 2002 season in which UCLA went 8-5 straight up and 7-5-1 against the spread.
Perceived as underachieving
Under Dorrell’s predecessor, Bob Toledo, the UCLA program was perceived as underachieving and Dorrell, in his first two years on the job, had done little to alter that perception.
Dorrell’s first team finished 6-7 straight up and 3-9-1 against the spread with a season ending loss to Fresno State 9-17 as 3-point chalks in the Silicon Valley Bowl. 2004 saw UCLA finish 6-6 straight up and 8-4 against the spread as the Bruins ended the year with a 21-24 loss to Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl as 12-point chalks.
Jealous of USC
Part of the problem that Dorrell had was that he inherited a program that was far behind cross-town archrival USC, who was coming off back-to-back national championships entering the 2005 campaign. UCLA fans and alums were jealous of USC and wanted immediate results from Dorrell in catching up with them. In addition to that, its not as if Toledo was a total failure as coach and there was a faction of believers that felt he was unjustly fired and that Dorrell had done nothing to improve things.
Higher expectations and demands
UCLA entered the third year of the Dorrell era facing higher expectations and demands. The Bruins ended the 2004 regular season by playing competitive football in a 24-29 loss to USC as 22.5-point dogs, which was a ray of hope for their fans.
UCLA opened the 2005 season at San Diego State, a team that they had owned both straight up and against the spread over the years. The Bruins impressed with a 44-21 win as 10-point chalks. They were even more impressive in their home opener the following week against Rice, who they annihilated 63-21 as 26-point chalks. Incredibly enough the Bruins were hefty 6.5-point chalks against traditional power Oklahoma, which turned out to be a trap that sucked in a lot of money the Sooner’s way, as UCLA completed a blazing start to the 2005 campaign with a 41-24 win to bolt out of the gate with mark of 3-0 both straight up and against the spread.
Public was impressed
Dating back to the second week of the 2004 season, UCLA had covered 11 of their last 15 games against the spread and the public was impressed, with more money flowing into the Bruins’ side as each week had passed. Inevitably, this was going to decrease their value on the betting boards.
UCLA was a 25-point chalk against Washington in the fourth game of 2005 and barely got by with a 21-17 win. Incredibly enough they were a 1.5-point home dog versus rebuilding Cal and proved that the wrong team was favored in a 47-40 win. Once again, the Bruins had a close call in their next game at struggling Washington State in a 44-41 win as 5-point chalks. They kept things under control in their next game at home versus Oregon State in a 51-28 win as 9-point home chalks. The following week at rebuilding Stanford, UCLA was clearly overvalued as a 7-point chalk in a 30-27 win.
UCLA had played down to the level of lesser opponents and while they were undefeated they were often just barely getting by. In their next game at Arizona they came out flat again and this time they paid with a devastating 14-52 loss as 9.5-point chalks that ruined their season as the Wildcats ambushed them with a solid 60-minute effort.
The blowout loss at Arizona helped the Bruins have their betting value restored as they covered 2 of their final 3 games. They rebounded with a nice 45-35 win as 3-point bargain home chalks against Arizona State before being exposed as a pretender in a 19-66-blowout loss at USC as 21-point dogs. In the Sun Bowl they beat Northwestern 50-38 as 3-point chalks to earn a 10-win season.