LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora will tell anyone who will listen that the California Golden Bears are much better than their 1-4 record.
And if there are nonbelievers out there, just ask Mora's wife.
Mora said he woke up in the middle of the night after going to bed Monday night and found his wife, Shannon, watching the game tape of Cal's game against Arizona State. It was the first time he could remember her watching game tape without him.
"She couldn't sleep and she was watching Cal's defense," Mora said. "She goes 'god, these guys play hard.' So if my wife notices it, it's noticeable."
California's losses have come against Nevada, Ohio State, USC and Arizona State -- teams that are a combined 16-3 this season -- and the Golden Bears have been close late in all of those games. If not for a couple of missed field goals, Cal might have defeated Ohio State on the road.
"Extremely deceptive," Mora said of Cal's 1-4 record. "This is an explosive, talented team. They've got really good athletes all over the field and it's a good football team. And they've played some good teams, now. It's not like they’ve played some patsies."
Mora, as are most coaches, is concerned with Cal receiver Keenan Allen. The 6-3, 210-pound junior was an All-Conference selection last season and has 33 catches already this season. But the Cal defense, which is last in the Pac-12 in rushing defense, 11th in pass efficiency defense and 10th in scoring defense, is vastly underrated, Mora said.
"They're big and they're physical," Mora said. "Their secondary flies around and their linebackers fly around. ... You just see that on film with these guys and it just jumps out at you. They’re fun to watch. If you like good, defensive football they’re fun to watch."