UCLA football's playoff drive this year includes an important Sept. 13 game in Arlington against Texas.
That's assuming, however, that Texas hasn't disbanded by then.
First-year, no-nonsense coach Charlie Strong continued his program purge Friday by dismissing running back Joe Bergeron and safety Josh Turner from the roster.
Strong, if you're keeping score, has now released six players since taking over from Mack Brown.
It appears Strong is willing to sacrifice wins this year to restore his kind of order to the program. Strong has already predicted Texas, 8-5 last year, won't win the national championship in 2014.
"I can't say just how far off we are and that we will not know that until we go compete this fall," Strong said earlier this week at Big 12 media days in Dallas. "But we still have work to do."
Last year's team did not have a single NFL player drafted for the first time since the Great Depression.
All of this increases the chances that UCLA, a legitimate preseason national title contender, will score a key non-conference win. Yet, it will be up to the new, 13-person selection committee to weigh the merits of victory.
In theory, UCLA should not be punished harshly if Texas turns out to be lousy.
The committee must consider "intent" in considering a team's overall evaluation. Scheduling Texas, years in advance, is different than scheduling Savannah State.
In the old BCS system, the mindless computers would undercut UCLA if it defeated a Texas that ended up 5-7.
The selection committee, thankfully, will have the discretion to consider a team that is trying to play good schools against one that is trying to beat the BCS computers.
Of course, if UCLA doesn't win Sept. 13, congratulations to Texas for a signature win and forget this post was ever written.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times