Dorrell's quiet composure lifts Bruins

UCLA belongs in the discussion of the race for the national championship. For weeks, I've been as skeptical as anyone because of the Bruins' soft defense, but not any longer. Not after UCLA's defense made several fourth-quarter stops to help the Bruins overcome a 24-3 deficit with 8 minutes and 26 seconds left in Saturday's game with Stanford.

It was the fourth time this season that UCLA came back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to remain undefeated. With all these late game heroics, maybe UCLA is just a team of destiny.

I stood on the sidelines at Stanford Stadium and watched UCLA's improbable comeback. When you witness the Bruins up close like that, you can't help but be impressed with their composure -- and it's clear that it starts with coach Karl Dorrell. Dorrell has been criticized often for not being emotional on the sideline. His demeanor is even more striking when compared with crosstown rival USC coach Pete Carroll. While Carroll gets as excited as his players during games, Dorrell looks as though he's reading the morning paper.