Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2011 file photo. UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel walks off the field after Stanford defeated UCLA 45-19 in an NCAA college football game, in Stanford, Calif. Neuheisel acknowledged he was on the hot seat even before his fourth season at UCLA began

LOS ANGELES — UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel began his fourth season by acknowledging he's on a hot seat, and his Bruins haven't done much to cool it down in the last three months.

After UCLA's embarrassing 36-point loss at Arizona last week was punctuated by a brawl and six suspensions, Neuheisel might be nearly out of time to show enough progress to keep his dream job at his alma mater.

Yet Neuheisel remained indefatigably optimistic Monday while UCLA (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) began figuring out how to face California on Saturday without four suspended receivers.

The veteran coach realizes his 18-26 record at UCLA has permanently disenchanted some fans and alumni. Neuheisel still believes the Bruins can rally to reach a bowl game, even if it isn't enough to save his own job.