The UCLA Bruins had any hope of reaching the college football playoff dashed with a rather noncompetitive loss to Arizona State two weeks ago. With two weeks to clean their wounds out, the Bruins stay in California and travel to Stanford for a meeting of 4-1 teams. Barring something miraculous, the Bruins and Cardinal will be hard pressed to find a spot in the final 4. However, going in Stanford’s favor is that their only loss came in week 1 against Northwestern. Voters tend to look at what is happening now compared to weeks prior. Look at Ohio State who dropped an early one to Virginia Tech, they ended up in the playoff and won the National Championship. With that said, I don’t think Stanford has the power to go all the way up to the 4th spot. They’re going to need to keep winning and a lot is going to need go to their way ahead of them. But Stanford is definitely on the upswing and heading in the right direction. They have won four straight games all in pretty impressive fashion, scoring more than 30 points in all of them, and 40+ in three of four. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has been at Stanford long enough to have a good grasp of the offense and his time there is beginning to pay off. We’ve seen him grown up from a game manager to a quarterback that has taken command of the offense.
UCLA has a freshman signal caller on their side, who looks like will pan out to be a pretty good quarterback. He has made some good plays as a freshman, but at the same time has made freshman mistakes as well. As a freshman you need to take the good with the bad, and hopefully they shore up the bad as their careers progress. Josh Rosen had no time to pass the ball against Arizona State, as the UCLA offensive line was getting abused by ASU. The result of it was poor throws and predictable play calling by the Bruins. There was an actually an article recently published regarding how predictable his receiving targets have become. Young quarterbacks tend to lock in to their favorite receivers without surveying the field, which Rosen has fallen victim of. He will get better at that, but as it stands now he has plenty of work to do in that regard. A good case study for him on the road tonight against Stanford.
UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal College Football Pick
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
UCLA vs. Stanford Pick:
Week 1 looked like a Stanford kind of game. Other than the fact that they lost the game of course, but what I’m getting at is it was a slug it out low-scoring game that was dictated by defense. The other four games for Stanford they’ve looked unrecognizable. The Stanford offense has taken it to another level in a way that we haven’t seen since Andrew Luck was in his final year with the Cardinal. Hogan picked up for Luck once he left, so yes, Hogan has been in this offense for quite a while. On this four game stretch, Stanford has averaged 42.25 points per game and 46 points in their last three matchups. Far different from the kind of games we have been used to seeing from a Stanford team. The defense has been playing relatively well too, allowing an average of 19 points per game.
UCLA has been getting gashed on the ground. They are allowing a pretty steep 197 yards per game. Stanford is scoring a lot of points lately, but don’t be fooled, they are still doing it by playing effectively on the ground. The Cardinal is averaging 210 rushing yards per game, not the greatest matchup there for the UCLA defense. Arizona State took advantage of them on the ground and Stanford will look to do the same tonight. The road teams in these weekday games seem to have lots of problems. I am sure it has something to do with the travel schedule, disrupting the typical weekly routine of the players. Stanford is a team that can punch you in the mouth if your head isn’t completely there. The money is about split in this game, but the line has gone up for Stanford. I think we see a 10 point win or something similar for Stanford. Tough spot for the young Rosen.
PICK: STANFORD -6.5 (-110)