UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon Ducks Preview and Pick

UCLA Bruins +17 (2-3) 3-2 ATS, 3-2 O/U at Oregon Ducks -17 (4-2) 3-3 ATS, 3-3 O/U Saturday October 11 Autzen Stadium (54,000) Eugene, Oregon 10:15 p.m. EST

By Wilson at Predictem.com

Rick Neuheisel, the new head coach at UCLA, will take his team into the always hostile Autzen Stadium this Saturday for a PAC-10 battle against the Oregon Ducks. Both of these teams have struggled this season but it’s UCLA that may be in the most trouble. Oregon has great athletes but they are still hurting at the QB position as is the entire PAC-10 for that matter.

This match-up should be a lopsided affair if Oregon can put it all together regardless of the QB issues. The Ducks are simply the better team, but you would never know that by watching film of last week’s loss at USC. The Ducks defense was exploited several times both from the pass and the run attack by the Trojans. Oregon scored first against USC, but all they did was wake the sleeping giant as USC went on to a 44-10 victory.

Oregon should be ready to go at home as Coach Mike Bellotti rarely loses at home. His Ducks will need to be more productive than last week’s pathetic showing, but then again they ran into an alert, angry, USC team who was rebounding from a loss to the other Oregon team.

UCLA has gone to new lengths as their program has taken a turn for the worse. Sure, they beat Washington State last week, but my 6 year old and his buddies can probably put up at least three TD’s on the Cougars. What did UCLA score? 28? Ok, so they’re one TD better than my boy’s squad. Seriously, the Bruins are averaging only 19 points per game and giving up 30 to their opponents. This week may be another beating unless the Bruins play above the level that they have been at so far this year.

Bruin QB Kevin Craft threw for 225 yards and 2 TD’s against Washington State last week in a 28-3 win for the Bruins. Craft can do a lot of great things but he must have the support around him to succeed. Neuheisel will get this team going it just may take a while.

The Bruins lead the series with Oregon at 39-22. Saturday’s game will mark the 62nd meeting between the two teams. They have split the last four meetings. Rick Neuheisel has a 4-1 record versus Oregon (2-0 at Colorado and 2-1 at the University of Washington), Saturday’s game will be the first foe him as the UCLA head coach.

The Bruins are currently 17 point dogs which may be accurate given their performance thus far in the season. The total for this game is not out yet, but it should float around 55 to 60. The Ducks are 3-3 O/U while the Bruins are 3-2 O/U.

I like the Ducks to rebound after their lack-luster effort at USC and put up a ton of points at home this week. UCLA will try and ride the momentum from their win over Washington State, but they will not be able to stay with Oregon’s athletes.

Both teams are giving up over 25 points per game, so it will be interesting to see which defense out plays the other.

UCLA has played 11 true freshmen this year. The experience is great, but the price is substantial. Oregon will show their maturity and rise up to tame the Bruins in Eugene.

Wilson’s Pick: Coach Bellotti will win again at home, but coach Neuheisel will lead his troops to the cover and that’s all that matters for our sake.