The Colorado Buffaloes have something brewing up there in Boulder. For the first time in eleven years, Colorado is ranked in the college football top 25. It’s truly been a tale of two seasons for UCLA and Colorado. On one side the Buffaloes are trending upward in a big way, and then you have UCLA who are having a season to forget. I was never a fan of Jim Mora three years ago, and I’m not a fan of him now.
Mora may be absent from the sideline at UCLA next season, who has really underperformed with his team. There is the excuse that UCLA has been without their starting quarterback, Josh Rosen, for a chunk of the year. However, even when Rosen was healthy, something looked off with this team. So, sorry Mora but I’m not buying it.
UCLA will turn to their backup option at quarterback again on Thursday night. Rosen would give UCLA a much better shot at winning, I give him that, but either way the Bruins have not been playing quality football. Mike Fafaul will step in and try to get his season going in the right direction. Fafaul has been at UCLA for five years now and this is the first year he has gotten some action. In fact, he had only six attempts in his career before 2016. He’s just been very careless with the ball, leading to far too many turnovers for UCLA to overcome. Limit the interceptions in their last game against Utah, and they would have won that one. Fafaul threw 4 interceptions, giving the Utes a 52-45 win.
He also passed for 5 touchdowns against Utah, but most teams are not going to be able to overcome a 4 interception game. Decision making has been the knack on Fafaul. He has completed just 55.7% of his passes, along with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Now you can probably see why he hasn’t gotten much playing time in five years. The Buffaloes can show off to the rest of the country in primetime on Thursday night against UCLA. The Buffs are looking for a statement win, while the Bruins look to salvage their 3-5 season and look for a bowl game in December.
UCLA Bruins vs. Colorado Buffaloes NCAAF Betting Odds:
UCLA +13 (-110)
vs. Colorado -13(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
UCLA vs. Colorado Pick:
Fafaul won’t be looking at game where he can improve his numbers tonight. He could but he is going against a pretty stingy Colorado defense. An underrated defense I should add. Colorado are allowing just 308 yards per game, including 18.1 points against. They’re giving up just 129 yards per game rushing. This is where you might find a mismatch in this game, a major mismatch. The UCLA offensive line should get bullied around in this game by the Buffs. Note that the Bruins are averaging just 85 yards rushing per game. Yes, worse than teams like Washington State who are allergic to running the football. Consequently, UCLA are forced to throw the ball a lot with a turnover prone Fafaul.
The Buffs are 32nd running the ball, a huge contrast from UCLA in this regard. They have also shown they are capable of passing the ball with Sefo Liufao. Liufao seems to be liking his senior season, throwing for 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has been excellent protecting the ball for the Buffs and leading this balanced attack in Boulder. However, they may not have to count on him much tonight. UCLA are 68th in the country against the run, allowing an average of 173 yards per game.
At first look, the point-spread in this game looks like it makes zero sense. UCLA catching 13 points against Colorado? The line opened at 11 and it’s actually risen to 13. I believe the public are taking the points with the Bruins in this matchup. There aren’t too many people familiar with Colorado, perhaps only from the Michigan game they lost 45-28. Liufao is actually the only quarterback to do anything against the Wolverines though, a game where he threw 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Colorado are 3-0 at home, compared to 1-3 on the road for UCLA. The sportsbooks want all of the UCLA money they can get. That’s fine, but I am not going to fall into the Bruins’ trap tonight.
PICK: COLORADO -13 (-110)