The heated competition in the PAC 12 continues Thursday night with a meeting between two teams trying to get back in the hunt for conference supremacy. I think a lot is going to happen between now and the end of the schedule, so nobody is out of it yet. Utah is atop the PAC 12 and is looking like one of the best teams in the country, but I know plenty of people are waiting for them to have their lapse and lose one. As far as USC goes we can count them out without a doubt. UCLA is going to need a lot of good to happen for them to comeback with a 4-2 record. Winning out is the only thing that they can control, but with other variables in play that they can’t control, it’s going to be tough on them. Surely not many had California at 5-1, their only loss coming against the Utah Utes. Cal put up a pretty competitive game, so it wasn’t the worst loss for them. But even if they win the rest of their schedule, they will be hard pressed to find the top 4. I suppose if they win the PAC 12, which is still a possibility, they can cause some controversy.
The PAC 12 is not some creampuff schedule, so they would have a case that they belong. The key phrase there though is that it isn’t a creampuff schedule. In other words, I don’t think California is going to finish with just one loss on their record so this is all a rather moot point. Their second loss may come as early as tonight against the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins were looking like major threats in the PAC 12 behind freshman Josh Rosen, but entering this week UCLA isn’t even ranked. UCLA at 4-2, have losses against Stanford and Arizona State. Both of those losses coming the past two weeks. So, that is how quickly things can change in college football. One week you’re destroying Arizona on the road, and the next two you look like a completely different team.
Not only is this a big game for college football’s sake, but Cal quarterback Jared Goff has some other important reasons to play good as well. He is currently projected as being the first quarterback off the board in the NFL draft next April. Following the Utah game where he threw 5 interceptions, those prospects had to take a dent. At this point it could be Connor Cook or Goff. That was the best defense Goff has played and maybe the best he’ll play all season long, so that wasn’t the best audition for NFL teams. UCLA has been banged up on the defensive front. Goff is looking to take advantage of that and put the Utah game in the past. Big game for him and both of these schools.
California Golden Bears vs. UCLA Bruins College Football Pick
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
California vs. UCLA Pick:
UCLA was looking great before injuries piled up on them. The Bruins have allowed 124 points in their last three games. Despite beating Arizona easily in a blowout three games ago, they still allowed 30 points in the 56-30 victory. You can’t expect a freshman to put up that many points every week, so this two game skid is on the defense. In their two losses against Stanford and Utah they surrendered 38 then 56 points. They have averaged 41.3 against on defense the last three weeks. Rosen can do all he wants at quarterback, UCLA isn’t going to be in any PAC 12 Championship game with that kind of defense. While defense seems like a lost art for the majority of college teams, that is especially bad even with that considered.
I do foresee Goff being able to bounce back against UCLA in this game. Cal should be able to score the ball with ease. He strikes me as the kind of quarterback that won’t have two horrible starts in a row. Cal is coming off a bye week, so that gave him even more time to prepare for the UCLA defense, a defense I’m sure he seen lots of holes in on film. Cal has improved on defense from last season, as they went a few years with one of the worst defenses in the country. They still aren’t up to par yet and can are beatable, though. The story here is on the Cal offense, who are averaging 40.2 points per game. I think they can hit that average in this one against UCLA. UCLA is averaging 34.8 points per game. The offense hasn’t been the issue really, just the defense. We have to take a look at the OVER 68 in this matchup for Thursday night.
PICK: OVER 68 POINTS (-110)