10-2 (8-0), 1st Mountain West
6-6 (5-4), 4th Pacific-10
December 22, 8:00PM, ESPN
On September 8, UCLA beat BYU 27-17, but since that time these two teams have gone in different directions. UCLA was a team I thought would be a darkhorse in the Pac 10 and contend for a title, but 6 losses later they are looking for a new coach. BYU only lost one other game after UCLA to Tulsa, and ran the table to finish undefeated in the Mountain West Conference.
UCLA has gone through a rash of injuries, mainly at the quarterback position. Ben Olson, Patrick Cowan, Osaar Rasshan, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson have all seen action at quarterback for the Bruins because of injuries. For the Las Vegas Bowl it is uncertain who will start, but it is between Cowan and Olson. Their running game consists of Kahlil Bell (who is out for this game) and Chris Markey combining for 1300 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns. The Bruins are tough against the run, ranking 25th in the country and they only give up about 3 yards per rush. Against the pass they are below average and that works in BYU's favor.
The Cougars are led by QB Max Hall with this 3600 yards passing and 24 touchdowns, overall the Cougars are 13th in the country in passing offense and 15th in total offense. Three receivers, Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta, and Harvey Unga give Hall plenty of quality targets to throw to. On defense, BYU is tough against the run giving up only 92 yards per game on the ground and 215 yards in the air.
UCLA must make BYU turn the ball over and get some constant play from whoever is their quarterback. Also, the Bruins defense (mainly the secondary) has to step up and play up to the potential that many thought they had at the beginning of the season. Even though Dorrell is gone, there is still a lot of uncertainty hanging over the team and that could be a distraction for this game. I think BYU has too much on offense and has gotten a lot better since they met in early September. BYU 35 UCLA 20
Picking BYU to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Corn Nation, MizzouRAH, The LSC Scoop, Kansas It's Football Time, ITB Charlie Swager, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, The Enlightened Spartan, Pitch Right, ITB Ron Juckett, MidWest Coast Bias, Football Frontier, Greg Gowins, Dan Schoonover, Rodney Polston, Richard Dixon, Brian Isaacson, Brant Chruscial, Timmy B, Jeff Brancolini, Sunny Verma, Jason Stiver, Pete Boivin, Mrs Corn Nation
Picking UCLA to Win
Rizzo Sports, Sportsbone TV, Logan Jaffe, Lorena The Dodgerchick, Lou Nemec, Matt Kieta, Cyril Tircuit