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UCLA football: Mora says it's a jungle out there, at least in Pac-12

October 01, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA Coach Jim Mora said the Pac-12's having five teams ranked in the top 25 "speaks of the quality of football in the Pac-12. It my mind it has always been a powerful conference."
UCLA Coach Jim Mora said the Pac-12's having five teams ranked in the… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

UCLA Coach Jim Mora charged up the significance meter Tuesday, as the Bruins head into their Pac-12 opener at Utah.

“We’re entering the jungle,” Mora said. “You can’t have a slip-up.”

The No. 12 Bruins (3-0) have won only one of their last five conference openers, and that was on the road at Oregon State in 2011. UCLA lost to Oregon State in the Rose Bowl to open conference play in 2012.

Utah is 3-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Every team in the Pac-12 South Division already has one conference loss except UCLA.

“It would be a huge deal for us to come out and show everyone that we’re ready to compete,” cornerback Ishmael Adams said. “We can be known as one of the big teams in the Pac-12.”

The Pac-12 has five teams ranked in the top-25: No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Stanford, No. 15 Washington and No. 22 Arizona State, as well as UCLA.

Only the Southeastern Conference, with seven, has more.

“It speaks of the quality of football in the Pac-12,” Mora said. “In my mind it has always been a powerful conference.

“For this conference to be mentioned in the same breath with what everybody thinks is the pinnacle of college football, the SEC, says a lot about what we’re doing out here in the Pac-12.”

Now Mora wants to see what the Bruins will do in the Pac-12.

“I feel like our guys know the ramifications of this,” Mora said.

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