It would be fair for an outside to say the Rick Neuheisel honeymoon is over at UCLA. For an insider, it’s right to suggest he needs to start winning—and fast. The Bruins are off to a 1-2 start coupled with 35-0 shellacking at the hands of Stanford and a 31-22 road setback at Kansas State in the opener. 79 points surrendered in three games is bad for any team, let alone a team like UCLA.
Things couldn’t be any different for Texas. The Longhorns continue to stock up on recruit’s year in and year out and Mack Brown is off to another 3-0 start after a 24-14 road win over Texas Tech. The Bruins will walk into the game coming off the heels of an impressive win over a high-flying Houston team. But, in fairness, Houston lost not one but two quarterbacks in the game. The road this year hasn’t been kind to UCLA with their trips to Stanford and Kansas State. For Texas, it will be a warm return to the friendly confines of Darrel K. Royal Stadium.
This is precisely the kind of game that bowl officials, sportswriters and other media members want to see: two BCS teams from different conferences scheduling and challenging each other in an attempt to build their portfolios. Texas may need the good impression, as they are one of the teams fighting for a chance in the BCS National Championship Game. More about that next week—when they play Oklahoma. But, Texas’ defense has been super this year only surrendering 38 points in three games. If you take that statistic and mesh it with UCLA’s so-so offense, it’s plain to see why Texas should be favored.
UCLA vs Texas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
@ Texas -15.5
@ Texas (-700)
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UCLA vs Texas Predictions for Week 4 Game:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play) – Crazy things can happen in college football and it might not always be a grand idea to play an over/under at 42 points. But, I really like the line here. Texas isn’t quite good enough to score 40 some points on an average Pac 10 team and UCLA’s offensive struggles have been noted. If UCLA was shut out by Stanford and only had three scores against Kansas State, perhaps it is right to think they won’t be lighting up the scoreboard in Austin. Look for the ‘Horns to control the clock and use some play-action to get quarterback Garrett Gilbert some confidence as they look towards next week.
Spread Prediction – It certainly doesn’t take a math wizard to know that UCLA shouldn’t score a lot of points in this game. If they struggled against Stanford (0 points) and only tacked on 31 against a Houston team that had previously surrendered 28 to Texas State and 24 to UTEP, it’s right to suggest the Bruins may have a tough time moving the ball against a very, very good Texas defense. The Longhorns, on the other hand, should expect to move the ball relatively well. While they are still adjusting to life after Colt McCoy, they have done just enough against so-so teams. I expect the Longhorns to run the ball a bit better against a UCLA team that gave up 313 yards rushing to Kansas State and 211 against Stanford. Texas’ ability to run the ball (much like their opener versus Rice) should see the Longhorns control the clock and the game.
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