College Football Pick
UCLA was supposed to compete for the Pac-12 title this year, but those expectations are long gone with the Bruins at 3-4 overall and 1-3 in Conference play. They’ll try to get back on track this weekend, but it won’t be easy against a Utah team that has matched success from last season. That said, the Schedule is about to get much tougher for the Utes. It took awhile for this spread to get released because UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is still questionable to play.
Rosen warmed up ahead of the last Game against Washington State, but it was decided that he couldn’t go and it looks like the same situation for this one. Considering the Bruins haven’t been able to run the ball this season, Rosen’s status is vital to how they’ll perform.
against the Cougars, backup QB Mike Fafaul was fine, throwing for 258 yards and three touchdowns, but also had two interceptions. To go along with that, the offense didn’t really move the ball until the second half when the Game was nearly out of reach. And against Washington State, the run Game was bad as expected with UCLA going for 43 yards on 25 carries as a team.
That’s going to be an issue no matter the team they face, but Utah has a respectable run defense, so it could be another similar outing. When these teams met last year, it was the UCLA defense that won the Game with the Bruins coming out on top 17-9. Neither team really moved the ball all that efficiently, but the Utes couldn’t get the ball in the end zone despite running for 197 yards.
Even if Rosen starts, this Game could go a lot like last year’s meeting. There’s nothing all that exciting about this Utah offense and that was seen last week in a 19-14 win over Oregon State. Quarterback Troy Williams hasn’t been asked to do much completing 56.6% of his passes for 7 TDs and 4 INTs. In the win against the Beavers, he attempted just 13 passes. The Utes would like to do that every Game and will try to do that here as long as UCLA has trouble offensively again.
Even with leading running backs Armand Shyne and Zack Moss out, the Utes still had Joe Williams to turn to last Game as he went for 179 yards on 34 carries. But it’s a wonder if that will work as well against the Bruins.
But the obvious problem for UCLA is that their running Game has been close to non-existent, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. That’s not going to win many Games in the Pac-12, which is why the return of Rosen is so important to this Game. If Rosen can’t go, expect this Game to go similarly to last year with both teams under 20 points, but the Utes getting the edge, even on the road.
But if Rosen plays, the Bruins have the slight edge even without a running Game. Rosen wasn’t great against the Utes last year, but he did enough to get the win. While UCLA isn’t playing well, Rosen still has thrown for 300-plus yards in Four of six Games and that’s better than anything Fafaul can do.
Our Pick – Utah +7