Pick – Analysis
It’s good that the Pac-12 is competitive, but that also hurts them on a national level. With every team in the Conference having at least two losses, it’s likely there won’t be anyone from the west taking part in the College Football Playoff. That goes for these two teams, both coming off poor losses. The Utes are a small -2 point home favorite.
Utah was close to having the Pac-12 South locked up, they just needed to keep winning. If only it were so easy. The Utes fell at Arizona last weekend 37-30 and now sport the same 5-2 Conference record as USC, who they already lost to. With two home Games remaining, there’s no telling how the South division will play out.
UCLA is coming off a bad home loss to Washington State and is a Game behind both Utah and USC. But, there’s still a chance for the Bruins. If they can win their last two road Games (at Utah and USC), they will in turn have the tiebreaker and win the South. An unlikely scenario, but nevertheless, a possible one.
But first up are the Utes, who won this Game 30-28 last year at the Rose Bowl as a 13-point underdog with backup QB Kendal Thompson. It was an even Game, but Utah’s rushing attack led by Devontae Booker was too much in the end as Brett Hundley couldn’t get the job done for the Bruins.
Neither one of these teams has been too consistent, but Utah has yet to lose at home, so at least there’s that.
Much like last year, the Utes will look to Booker to dominate the ground. He has 1,261 yards and 11 TDs on the season and has at least 35 touches in two straight Games. There’s no reason Utah will stop giving him the ball as the Games get more important. But even then, quarterback Travis Wilson needs to play better for Utah to come out on top. He now has 12 passing TDs and nine INTs on the year, which has hurt mightily in their two losses. There’s no reason he shouldn’t have success against this UCLA defense.
The Bruins haven’t been able to stop many teams this year outside of Oregon State and it’s doubtful they’ll be able to stop Booker here. What the Bruins need is more points if the defense keeps getting gashed. Utah has a solid defense, but after allowing 42 and 37 points in its two losses, who knows anymore.
UCLA moved the ball decently last week, but couldn’t find the end zone enough to close the Game out against Washington State. Running back Paul Perkins is having a good season with 1,082 yards and 10 TDs, but could have some issues finding room in this one. If that’s the case, the season will come down to true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen. There’s no doubt the kid has looked good, but when needed to make a play, he has often come up short. On the year he has 20 total TDs and eight interceptions, but hasn’t thrown a pick in Four straight, which will be important against this Utes defense.
This Game should be as close as last year’s battle with the Game coming down to whether Rosen can have success or not.
The Utes are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, while the under has hit in the last Four between these two.
Our Pick UCLA +2