UCLA once won a national football championship.
That was in 1954, a year before the facemask was invented.
No matter how you mark the time — 60 years, 598 games, 35 or so quarterbacks, 11 coaches and three interim coaches — anything pre-Sputnik qualifies as ancient history.
The Bruins' latest effort to attain a bookend trophy begins Monday when they open training camp at Cal State San Bernardino.
UCLA is No. 7 in the season's first USA Today coaches' poll, and the Bruins are expected to contend for the Pac-12 Conference title. It would be the program's first since 1998.
Quarterback Brett Hundley is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate. Gary Beban, who won in 1967, is the only Bruin to earn that award.
If everything falls into place, UCLA might even be a candidate for the first four-team College Football Playoff.
All they need to do is take that first step, then the second, then the third, then …
"We cannot get caught up in the expectations and the hype," said UCLA Coach Jim Mora. "We have to keep firmly on the task at hand."
UCLA history is full of lessons.
The Bruins were ranked No. 1 to open the 1955 season, then lost to Maryland, 7-0, in the second week. They finished the regular season ranked fourth with a 9-1 record.
UCLA was the No. 1 team when the first Bowl Championship Series standings were released in 1998. The Bruins needed a victory in their regular-season finale to earn a place in the title game. Then Miami and Edgerrin James trampled all over those dreams.
Could this finally be UCLA's season?
To answer that question, consider some other questions facing the Bruins as they enter camp:
How will the Bruins handle high expectations?
A 19-8 record over two seasons would have some coaches on a hot seat. In Westwood, it got Mora canonized.
Back-to-back victories over USC give the Bruins bragging rights to the city. Having back 16 players who started six or more games, plus a slew of other experienced returners, gives UCLA contender status. With those things comes a target.
Beating UCLA means something again, and the Bruins will need to adjust to that shift in mind-set.
Something to remember: The Bruins have a 3-7 record against teams that finished the regular season in the AP top 25 the last two seasons.
Is there a running back who can take some pressure off Hundley?
Hundley led the team with 748 yards rushing last season and he has to run for the offense to be effective. But limiting the number of body shots he absorbs is important.
A front-runner among the running backs has yet to emerge. Jordon James was off to a good start in 2013 before a high ankle sprain slowed him. Paul Perkins had moments. Steven Manfro can be effective in certain situations. Craig Lee, who redshirted last season, and incoming freshman Nate Starks will get looks.
Linebacker Myles Jack will again do double duty. How much time he spends on offense depends on the other running backs.
Do the Bruins have a go-to receiver?
Devin Fuller, Jordan Payton and Devin Lucien have all been solid contributors. Kenneth Walker has returned from back surgery. Newcomers Eldridge Massington and Mossi Johnson could be factors. But Thomas Duarte may have the biggest impact.
Duarte is 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds, with sure hands and no fear. He could be the guy Hundley looks to for vital yards, particularly around the goal line.
Who will be the impact players on defense?
Jack can dominate, as he showed during his freshman season. He is the first guy opposing offenses need to locate.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes are formidable up front. Fabian Moreau has the look of an NFL cornerback.
The linchpin is defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who replaces Cassius Marsh. He sat out last season after two hip surgeries, but has great potential.
The sleeper is cornerback Marcus Rios, who spent months fighting a fungal infection that nearly cost him his life. He is healthy again and has regained size and speed.
The Bruins have a new defensive coordinator, as Jeff Ulbrich was promoted from linebackers coach. They experimented with a 4-2-5 formation in the spring.
Who might be the new Jack?
It's doubtful the Bruins will find another freshman as good as Jack was in 2013. A few to watch: Jaleel Wadood, a receiver and defensive back, and linebackers Zach Whitley and Kenny Young.
What's the biggest first-team hole?
UCLA is without a tested punter. Adam Searl, a walk-on last season, is the only returning punter on the roster. Matt Mengel, who averaged 37.5 yards per punt for Long Beach City College last season, has joined the mix.