Possible 2023 UCLA Trap Games

What bad teams could UCLA lose to? Biggest UCLA Trap Games of 2023

Ah, the trap game. We all know it. We’ve all seen it. The game you’re supposed to win easily, without having to think about it. The game that’s just supposed to be a quick check on your schedule before you move on to the opponents you really have to worry about.

But for whatever reason, something goes wrong. The team that you outclass in talent from top to bottom, the team that has been horrible all season, decided to show up to play. Or maybe your team made some uncharacteristic mistakes they never make. At the end of the day, you’re now having to deal with a loss you never expected to happen.

Sometimes the teams that are supposed to lose are the most dangerous, and that’s where the trap game comes in. UCLA’s loss to Arizona from last season comes to mind. These games happen every year, and Chip Kelly, it seems, has been especially susceptible to UCLA trap games. So what unlikely competitors do the Bruins need to be on the lookout for this year?

Possible 2023 UCLA Trap Games

September 2nd vs. Coastal Carolina

I really do not trust Chip Kelly to get through the non-conference schedule unfazed. Two years ago UCLA lost to Fresno State, and last year they almost lost to South Alabama. Is another non-conference loss on the way this year?

Coastal Carolina, San Diego State, and NC Central all had winning records last year. NC Central went 10-2, but hopefully, even Kelly wouldn’t lose a game to an FCS team–knock on wood. I went back and forth between picking Coastal Carolina and San Diego State for this spot. San Diego State on the road was a feasible choice, but considering that Kelly had arguably his worst loss as a head coach against San Diego State in 2019, I would like to think that would motivate him to not make it 0-2 against them.

The Coastal Carolina game is a season opener, and Chip Kelly will be dealing with a lot of personnel changes. Most importantly, he’ll be going into the season without Dorian Thompson-Robinson starting at QB for the first time since 2018. That could be something that the Bruins don’t figure out right away. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina has an accomplished veteran QB at the helm in Grayson McCall. And even though they’re breaking in a bunch of new coaches, Jamey Chadwell left the team with a track record of success. This would be a great spot for UCLA to struggle while figuring out the chemistry of their new team.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Colorado
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

October 28th vs Colorado

UCLA comes back home to play Colorado after two straight road games. Colorado was 1-11 and is only projected to win 3 games this year. Easy-peasy right?

But if there’s one team not to underestimate, it’s the Colorado Buffaloes under new head coach Deion Sanders. Deion is bringing a massive culture shift (along with a ton of new players) to Colorado, and he’s never been one to shy away from a challenge or come out with a lack of confidence.

After the Colorado game, UCLA goes back on the road to face Arizona, whom they are unlikely to underestimate two years in a row. This home game against Colorado could be that one easy game during this midseason stretch that doesn’t end up being so easy.

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

November 11th vs Arizona State

This is the one that really stands out to me when it comes to trap game potential. As I said, UCLA is unlikely to underestimate Arizona, who they will play the week before, two years in a row. Arizona State only won 3 games last year and is only projected to 5 five games this year. Not to mention, the Herm Edwards sanctions really did a number on them. But that’s yet another reason not to underestimate them too much. Not only that, but this is yet another seemingly easy game sandwiched in between tough road matchups.

UCLA goes on the road to play USC the following week in a game that could have Pac-12 title implications. What makes the ASU game so dangerous is that UCLA will likely be looking ahead to USC. Could UCLA have a surprising loss here and end up playing themselves out of contention even before they get to the USC game? It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, the 2023 UCLA Bruins will have as few losses–trap or otherwise–as possible.