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UCLA

vs.

BYU

College Football

Pick with Analysis

9/17/16

BYU may not be part of a conference, but they definitely challenged themselves with a difficult schedule this season. For the third-straight game, the Cougars face one of the better teams in the Pac-12. UCLA, a team that has had an OK start to the season, is the road favorite in this one, currently a -3.5 point favorite at Bovada Sportsbook.

The interesting thing for BYU is that even though their quarterback Taysom Hill has three INTs to only one passing TD, they have competed with both of their first two opponents. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the defense, but it's worth noting Hill hasn't even played all that well, yet the Cougars could easily be 2-0 against tough Pac-12 squads.

BYU won their first game by two points against Arizona, lost last week by one at Utah and going back to last year, lost by just one at UCLA. So having this line at three points in Provo is a bit interesting, considering how the Bruins have faired early on.

The UCLA offense has been fine, but not great, led by sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen, who was expected to take the next step in his young career. Instead, with new weapons to work with, Rosen has just two touchdowns and three picks through the first two games, tossing all three of those interceptions in the opening loss at Texas A&M. Even against UNLV, the Bruins didn't look all that convincing, giving up 21 points to the lowly Rebels.

If Rosen can't play it safe, it could be a similar situation in this game. Rosen was the reason UCLA only won this game 24-23 a year ago. He threw for just 106 yards in the win to go with three interceptions. The Bruins won because of a ground game that went for 296 yards.

So this one may come down to what Soso Jamabo can do in the backfield. So far, the sophomore has done just enough, reaching 100 total yards in each game to go with three touchdowns. And after what happened in that matchup last season, one has to think BYU will be focusing on stopping that ground game.

The Cougars gave up 115 rushing yards to Arizona and 169 yards to Utah. Those numbers weren't great, but good enough to keep them in both games. And as long as that's the case in this one for UCLA and Jamabo, BYU will stick around in the fourth quarter, that's just how they play.

The most important thing for the quarterbacks may be to play it safe between Hill and Rosen. With both being turnover prone at the moment, that could easily swing this game either way. The Cougars definitely aren't a team to underrate, and that's been obvious early on, while the Bruins haven't done much to live up to the early hype.

BYU's defense has been better so far and that may be enough to trust them a little more than UCLA's group that has given up 52 points in the first two games.

Our Pick - We see no reason why this game won't be similar to last years game. In fact, we see no reason this game won't be close, like BYU's first two games this season. In a game predicted to play out like that, we'll gladly take +3.5 with the home dog. BYU +3

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