LOS ANGELES -- Conventional wisdom says that teams coming off a bye week have an advantage because they get extra time to prepare. UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora isn't much of a believer in conventional wisdom.
"I honestly have never thought about that stuff," Mora said. "No coach that I’ve ever been around has ever thought about that stuff. It’s something that fans think about and pundits think about. It’s not something that football coaches worry about, at least none that I’ve ever been around."
UCLA (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) is coming off a bye week going into its game Saturday at Arizona State. But Arizona State also had some extra time to prepare, as the Sun Devils last played Oregon in a Thursday night game.
Mora was 2-2 after bye weeks as a head coach in the NFL. His Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-14, in 2004 and won at the Miami Dolphins, 17-10 in '05. The Falcons lost, 27-14, to the New York Giants after a 2006 bye week and when Mora took over the Seattle Seahawks in '09, Seattle lost at the Dallas Cowboys, 38-17, the week after their bye.
UCLA in recent years hasn't fared too well after a week off. The Bruins were 0-4 following bye weeks under Rick Neuheisel and were outscored, 191-41 in those games. Dating to 2001, UCLA is 7-9 following a bye week and location seems to be the determining factor. The Bruins are 7-3 at home following a bye and 0-6 on the road.
"I think it depends on how you handle it, who you are playing, where you’re playing and what your energy level is," Mora said. "I think the most important thing is that you execute. If you execute and you play hard and you play with good energy then you have a chance to win. If you don’t, you don’t. I don’t know that the bye necessarily matters."