Pick – Analysis
BYU has improbably started its season 2-0, but that may change with a visit to the Rose Bowl. UCLA is also 2-0 and looking every bit as good as previous versions of this Jim Mora-led team. The Cougars will need to pull off another road miracle as they are a +17 point underdog against the Bruins (as of Wed at mybookie.ag).
The reason for UCLA’s early success is two-part. The defense and running Game look to be as good as last year, but the standout so far is new freshman quarterback Josh Rosen. With Brett Hundley gone, many expected this team to take a step back, but with Rosen, that hasn’t been the case at all. He wasn’t as good in his first road start last weekend, although that didn’t end up mattering with UCLA still slightly covering against UNLV. But in his first two starts, Rosen has thrown for 574 yards and Four touchdowns and will be a vital part to UCLA covering in this Game.
BYU has had an interesting start to say the least, having to come back in both of its upset wins. The Cougars have done just enough on defense, stopping Nebraska and Boise State’s run Game for the most part, and Taylor Mangum has done the rest on offense with his heroics. against Nebraska, BYU closed the Game with a successful Hail Mary and last weekend against Boise State, the Cougars turned a 10-point deficit into an 11-point win in the Fourth quarter.
One has to think their luck will run out at some point, but the 17-point spread seems a bit steep with how well they have played.
The Bruins have looked good, but they probably haven’t faced a team as good as BYU yet. Virginia is in the same mold, but UCLA still only beat the Cavaliers by 18 points at home. This could be a very similar Game. against Virginia, Paul Perkins struggled to get much going on the ground, rushing for only 59 yards. Bottling up opposing run Games has been key for BYU in giving themselves a chance in each upset win.
If Perkins has trouble moving the ball again, that should give the Cougars enough to stick around for a late cover, something that Virginia did. Rosen should be in line for a big Game as BYU has given up at least 297 passing yards in its first two wins. It wouldn’t be surprising if Rosen repeated what he did in the home opener, tossing for 351 yards and three touchdowns.
But on the other end, BYU can’t keep relying on its luck, although Jim Mora recently compared Mangum to Johnny Manziel. They’ll still need some kind of run Game with Adam Hine. Getting him going against Boise was key as Hine went for 93 yards and a touchdown. But to cover this Game, Mangum may have to complete a couple more bombs, and with UCLA prepping for them, that may not work out for the Cougars.
UCLA will get the win, but the line seems a bit steep, as this BYU offense still should have enough to stay close, with or without luck.
Our Pick – Not sold on UCLA yet and BYU has already proven to have some punch against decent competition. Number seems too high. BYU +17