1) Can the Bruins maybe start tackling this week? One of the hardest knocks against UCLA last week was their inability to bring down anybody wearing purple. Andrew Luck's already thrown four touchdown passes this season (against Sacramento State, but still). God willing, some of his throws will land in midfield Saturday night, and when they do, somebody in blue might want to be ready.
2) Is USC's defensive line for real? Virginia is far from the worthiest opponent the Trojans will face in 2010, but they've also got a choice running back in Keith Payne, who had a 100-yard outing in the Cavs' season opener. How will Armond Armstead's move to DT and the absence of DE Nick Perry affect this unit's effectiveness?
3) Is UCLA's Revolver evolution firing rapidly enough? Last week's progress with Kevin Prince at the helm was one of the few high points of a disappointing game. The Bruins are facing a brutal series of tests in Stanford, Houston, and Texas in the next three weeks. That doesn't leave much time to grow, and each of these high-scoring teams will demand frequent and copious scoring from UCLA if they're to keep up on the scoreboard.
4) Is USC's secondary anything more than a mirage? The Trojans, in marked contrast to their crosstown rivals, have several weeks to get the needed pieces in place before their first serious challenge, when Washington comes to town Oct. 2. Virginia's "only" an ACC team, but they're fielding an offense that threw for close to 300 yards last week. This Saturday night might be a good time for Monte & Co. to kick the tires in the defensive backfield and watch for major deficiencies before the real schedule gets here.
5) Do intangibles matter this time in Pasadena? Stanford hasn't beaten UCLA at home since 1996, and even lost at the Rose Bowl in the intervening years for good measure. Will the power of history put this Bruins squad over the top?