No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. UCLA Bruins (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: September 8, 2012. 7:30 EST.
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Neb -5/UCLA +5
Over/Under Total: 61
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena is no stranger to college football and this weekend its host team UCLA Bruins will take on the No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers. This early in the season is always a test for teams and coaching staffs to figure out how well they have prepared and if they can execute effectively. Both the Bruins and Cornhuskers put up 49 points against their opponents last week which explains the over/under at 61, but the question is, can either team score like they did against arguably weaker counterparts?
Nebraska’s quarterback, Taylor Martinez, literally destroyed Southern Miss last week by throwing for over 340 yards and five touchdowns. Martinez passed the pigskin to nearly every available receiver on the field which ripped up the defense. The Cornhusker fans are elated thus far with Martinez and his early signs of leadership as well as his ability to find receivers and make plays to keep the offense moving down field.
However, the Cornhuskers did suffer a setback last week as starting running back, Rex Burkhead strained his MCL and never played after the first quarter. Coach, Bo Pelini, said he thinks Rex will be fine for the game versus UCLA but no worries if Burkhead can make it this week or not because his backup Ameer Abdulah carried the ball 15 times for 81 yards. The coaching staff is certain the running game will be there regardless of Rex’s absence.
Meanwhile, UCLA is coming off of a big win over Rice last week where running back, Jonathan Franklin rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns—need I say more? Franklin is electric and will cause fits for the Cornhusker’s defensive coordinator. There is no doubt UCLA will run the ball and Franklin will likely get 25 to 30 touches if needed. Bruin’s QB, Brett Hundley scored on the first play of the game and was dynamic for the Bruins both through the air and on the ground. With the threat of Franklin lurking in the backfield coupled by Hundley’s knack for making plays this will be a good test for the Cornhusker’s defense.
Defensively, both these teams will get a chance to really see how strong they are as each team has a couple of big-time playmakers but the Cornhuskers look like the real deal defensively as UCLA has some questionable spots due mainly to their youth. Also the Bruins had three extra points blocked during last week’s game; this is again due to younger less experienced players which the Bruin’s coaching staff is addressing and they hope to clean it up this week.
UCLA will need to play nearly perfect to get a home win against the No. 16 Cornhuskers. Nebraska is tough—period. Week one was a nice confidence boost for both these squads. Nebraska may be a bit older and more seasoned, but UCLA gets the upset here.
Wilson's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bruins win straight up as a 5 point underdog!
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