Pick – Analysis
It’s only been three weeks and there was already a big upset in Pac-12 play last weekend. USC’s loss to Stanford opened things up in the South with Arizona and UCLA now the favorites to win the division. However, that doesn’t mean a whole lot as seen in that upset, anything can happen in this conference. UCLA is a -3 point road favorite at Arizona for this Game (as of Monday at 5 Dimes Sportsbook).
The biggest news that could affect the spread is the status of Arizona linebacker SCooby Wright, who was upgraded to questionable on Monday. Wright is arguably one of the best linebackers in the country and his status could be huge in this Game. The Wildcats haven’t really gotten a true test yet, so if Wright can’t go, that could be a problem going against the Bruins.
UCLA’s Schedule has been a bit tougher and the Bruins almost fell to BYU last weekend, but came back in the Fourth quarter and won 24-23, although as a 16.5-point favorite. The Bruins may be favored on the road here, but this Game might as well be a toss up. UCLA hasn’t done that much to win over bettors this year to be favored in its first true road test.
The Wildcats have covered their last two Games, but their defense has given up a lot of points to lower-level teams, which could be worrisome against a complete team like UCLA. Surprisingly with a solid passing and running Game, the Bruins haven’t surpassed 37 points yet, but that could be due to a difficult Schedule against solid defenses.
Nevertheless, freshman quarterback Josh Rosen has done enough for this team, even after tossing three interceptions against BYU last Game. Rosen was awesome in his first Game, but has seemingly taken a step back since then and is just 33-of-65 for two TDs and Four INTs in the last two Games. He’s obviously an important piece if UCLA wants to compete for the Pac-12 title. Paul Perkins has had his back, though, over the last couple Games, rushing for 370 yards and three touchdowns in the process. They’ll probably take a run-heavy approach in this Game in an effort to keep Arizona’s high-powered offense off the field.
That’s been the case in recent meetings as UCLA has won three straight in this matchup, covering all three of those times. In those three wins, the Bruins are averaging 276 rushing yards per Game, which sums them up. UCLA won 17-7 last year at home, but it’s unlikely the Scorewill be close to that this year. The Bruins should move the ball quite easily again, but Arizona’s offense looks better this year, although playing against bad teams, it’s hard to determine how much this team has improved.
Nevertheless, quarterback Anu Solomon is completing 68.3% of his passes for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions while Nick Wilson is averaging 7.0 yards per carry for 434 yards and five TDs. Of course, they’ll find more resistance in this Game, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this Game played out the way the 2013 contest did in Arizona with UCLA winning 31-26. The Wildcats moved well on the ground and through air and if Solomon is on his Game, that could happen here.
UCLA is currently a Top 10 team in the AP polls, but with road Games at Arizona and Stanford coming up, that may not be the case in a few weeks.
Our Pick – First real test for Arizona. So far, it sure looks like they know where the end zone is. Whether or not that continues is something we will soon find out. The feeling here is that the edge at QB that Arizona has decides this one. Arizona +3.5