UCLA will try to become bowl eligible when it faces California Friday evening at the Rose Bowl in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Bruins (5-6, 3-5 in Pac-12 Conference play) has not missed bowl games in back-to-back seasons since 1989 and 1990.
The game comes five days after Jim Mora was fired as UCLA’s coach and replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.
Fisch said becoming interim coach for a team trying to become bowl eligible the week of its regular-season finale is “by far the hardest challenge” of his career.
“It’s unfortunate circumstances,” said Fisch, who is in his first season on the Bruins coaching staff after spending the past two seasons as Michigan’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks/wide receivers coach. “It’s for a head coach that literally our family loves and for somebody that gave us an incredible opportunity to come out here.”
UCLA is 5-0 at the Rose Bowl this season and is trying to complete its first undefeated home season since 2005. The Bruins also had undefeated home seasons at the Rose Bowl in 1987 (6-0) and 1985 (5-0, including a victory in the Rose Bowl Game.) UCLA has played at the Rose Bowl since 1982.
The Bruins lead the series 53-33-1, with victories in three of the past four games. The Golden Bears were 36-10 winners last season.
UCLA is 2-7 in regular-season games following the USC game since 1967, including losses in each of the last four.
A victory would also make California (5-6, 2-6) bowl eligible. The Golden Bears most recent bowl appearance was in 2015 when they defeated Air Force, 55-36, in the Armed Forces Bowl.
The honorary captain will be Chris Joseph, a three-year UCLA starting offensive lineman who graduated in 2008 with a degree in geography, with an emphasis on the social and scientific causes of deforestation, and was a Rhodes Scholar. He is now a senior project manager with Davies Public Affairs, which specializes in grassroots programs that motivate individuals to speak out on issues that matter.
Former Bruin quarterback Cade McNown will be recognized during the first quarter break in connection with his induction next month into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
A charity toy drive will be held in partnership with Ronald McDonald House. Fans are asked to bring new and unwrapped toys in their original packaging to any Rose Bowl entry gate. Everyone donating a toy will receive a pair of tickets to either the UCLA women’s basketball game Tuesday against UC Riverside or the men’s basketball game Wednesday against CSU Bakersfield.
—City News Service
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