UCLA Bruins vs. California Golden Bears Preview and Pick

UCLA Bruins +17, O/U 51 (3-4) 5-2 ATS, 3-4 O/U at California Golden Bears -17, O/U 51 (4-2) 4-2 ATS, 4-2 O/U Saturday, October 25 Memorial Stadium (72,516) Berkeley, California 3:30 p.m. EST
by Wilson of Predictem.com

Two PAC-10 schools will meet this weekend as UCLA travels in state to take on the Cal Golden Bears in Berkeley. The PAC-10 has seen plenty of shifts in rank throughout the season as a handful of teams are fighting for the top spot and a trip to the Rose Bowl on New Years Day.

California was ranked No. 25 in the country going into last weeks game against the Arizona Wildcats but that ranking was short lived. The Wildcats beat the Bears 42-27, and knocked them out of the top 25.

Despite a 107-yard rushing effort from Cals running back Jahvid Best, who also had one touchdown and a long run of 67 yards, the Bears fell behind for good in the third quarter. QB Nate Longshore was 18-of-37 for 218 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 interception. Cals shaky QB situation will be a concern this week as Longshore was replaced in the 4th quarter by Kevin Riley who threw for 97 yards and an interception.

The loss to the Wildcats might have cost California a run to the Rose Bowl, but anything is possible in this years roller coaster of the PAC-10.

UCLA will be riding into Berkeley on a high (no pun intended) as they rallied to beat Stanford last week in the Rose Bowl. Bruins QB Kevin Craft led a last minute drive that started on their own 10 yard line and ended on a touchdown pass to Cory Harkey with just ten seconds remaining to give UCLA the 23-20 win over the Cardinal. Craft was 23-of-39 for 285 yards and 2 TDs.

This will be the 79th meeting between the two teams. The Bruins lead the series 49-28-1. Both teams have split in the last 8 meetings- each winning on their home field throughout the 8-game stretch. UCLA hasnt won in Berkeley since 1998, when they out lasted the Bears 28-16. UCLA won last years meeting in the Rose Bowl 30-21 upsetting the then No. 10 Golden Bears.

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UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel is 3-1 versus Cal lifetime, all when he was at the University of Washington. California wins this game on paper but UCLA may be building up steam after their latest confidence boost over Stanford.

Most sportsbooks have the Golden Bears by a 17 point margin, which really doesnt mean much in the PAC-10 these days unless youre USC, who is flat out killing teams after they lapsed against Oregon State. The O/U is at 51, and with the way these two teams have been playing they may fall a bit under that mark. UCLA is 5-2 ATS while California is 4-2 ATS.

California will have to fix their QB issues soon if they want to extend their season. UCLA has the momentum coming into this matchup while Cal looks to rebound. I like UCLAs chances to catch the Bears while theyre licking wounds.

Wilsons Pick: The PAC-10 is nuts this year, but I like the drama. UCLA comes close but cant finish. However, I like the Bruins to cover the 17 points.