UCLA Bruins vs. BYU Cougars Preview and Pick

UCLA Bruins 1-0 (0-0) (0-1 ATS) +9 at BYU Cougars 2-0 (1-0) -9 (1-1 ATS) Saturday September 13, Provo, Utah, Lavell Edwards Stadium (64,045)
by Wilson of Predictem.com

UCLA will make the road trip to Provo this weekend with a solid dosage of confidence after their overtime victory in week one over Tennessee 27-24. Kai Forbath kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bruins the win.

The Bruins opened the season by earning a win for new coach Rick Neuheisels debut. Neuheisel played quarterback for the Bruins from 1986 through 1989.

UCLA was the dog in this game but they managed to pull it out in the end. Bruin QB Kevin Craft struggled in the first half (his first start for UCLA) by tossing four interceptions and only totaling 66 yards, but he recovered in the second half by going 18 of 25 for 193 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions.

The Bruins showed much poise and maturity by be patient and making big plays when they needed to execute. Dominique Johnson was a big part of the Bruin attack as he pulled in a huge pass to set up a Raymond Carter 3-yard touchdown run that put UCLA in the lead. Both teams would battle back and forth as they entertained the sell-out crowd in Pasadenas Rose Bowl.

After both teams failed to crack the end-zone in OT is when Forbath stepped up to secure the win.

As for BYU, they squeaked out of Husky Stadium in Seattle last weekend with a one point win! Yes, it was also the first ever win for the Cougars at Husky Stadium. Sportsbook.com has BYU favored at home against the Bruins by nine points (-9) which looks ok on paper and according to all the pre-season chatter, but I think BYU will be facing a fired up, full of confidence football team in the University of Washington.

Again, BYU must play under two kinds of pressure, first, they are the home team favorite, and secondly, they currently have the longest winning streak in D-1 college football with 12 consecutive wins. Coach Bronco Mendenhall will have his plate full this week and every week if his team keeps winning. Hey, thats what coaches live for right?

BYU lost last year at UCLA 27-17, it was one of their two losses total from last season. You can bet that the Cougars will be anxious to even the score this weekend. Look for Max Hall to continue his passing attack against UCLA as he should be even more deadly at home.

Mendenhalls theme for this season is a quest for perfection especially after the season they had last year (11-2) and winning the Las Vegas Bowl against none other than the UCLA Bruins! The BYU fans will expect nothing less than a repeat or better than last years run, so the Cougars must live up to the task or it could be ugly in Utah.

The last time these two teams met was in the Vegas Bowl where they both struggled to score as the Cougars won 17-16. The online sportsbooks will likely have this game tighten up as the weekend nears as well as the houses in Vegas and AC. Either way this match up should prove to be a worth while contest of two unbeaten teams attempting to make a statement early in the season.

Wilsons Pick: Rick Neuheisel has always done a great job of preparing, and motivating his teams for games. Not to take away anything from Mendenhall, but Neuheisel has everything he wants right now- a big win over a ranked team in his debut at home, hes the head coach of his alma mater, and he is out to prove to all the doubters that he is worthy of coaching again in the Pac-10. I like UCLA to once again pull the upset and am happy to be getting points in this game as an underdog.