UCLA Bruins (1-2 SU 1-2 ATS) vs. No. 7 Texas Longhorns (3-0 SU 1-2 ATS), Week 4 NCAA Football, Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin TX, 3:30 PM ET, September 25, 2010 on ABC
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: University of California Los Angeles +16/Texas -16
Over/Under Total: 51
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On Saturday afternoon in the Lone Star State the undefeated and 7th ranked Texas Longhorns face the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins had high expectations this season, but they lost their first 2 games and did not look good in either of them. However, they may have turned the corner since last week they beat, then, 23rd ranked Houston.
UCLA can get back to .500 with a win and that will really help their chances of getting to a bowl game, as they play a killer Pac 10 schedule with 4 teams in the conference that are ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
Texas has their sights set on a Big 12 Title and another BCS Bowl game and they are well on their well since they have yet to lose this season. Texas has a solid offense, but they also showed what they can do on defense holding the dynamic offense of Texas Tech to only 14 points last week.
The Horns cannot look past the Bruins, but that may be hard with their next game being the Red River game against Oklahoma, which has HUGE BCS implications. After that they face 6th ranked Nebraska in the following week so now is make or break time for the Sooners.
Last week Texas looked solid in beating their first real test of the season in Texas Tech 24-14 and the Bruins finally played a good game upsetting Houston 31-13.
Luckily Texas played good defense in the Texas Tech game, as they turned the ball over 4 times and they were also called for 9 penalties for 95 yards. They cannot play a sloppy game again, especially if UCLA plays like they did last week in their win over Houston.
Texas’ offense is led by QB Garrett Gilbert, who was 21/36 for 227 yards and 2 TD against Tech. However, he also had 3 INT’s, but this week will be facing a Bruins’ secondary that gave up 252 passing yards in their win over Houston. He has a few legit targets so the UCLA pass defense has to play well in this game and not allow the Longhorns to make the big play down the field. That will happen though in this game at least a couple of times, as UT has several weapons on offense that can take it to the house every time they tough the ball.
Texas struggled in the ground game against Texas Tech with 93 rushing yards and RB Foswhitt Whittaker only had 55 yards averaging 3.7 yards per carry and Cody Johnson only had 35 yards averaging 2.1 yards per carry. The Bruins have a rushing defense that only ranks 105th in the nation so look for the Longhorns to pick up some yards on the ground and control the clock.
In their big win over Houston UCLA’s defense forced 3 turnovers and if they can take the ball away from Texas in this game they will really improve their chances to pull off the big upset.
The Bruins will have to run the ball in this game like they did in the Houston game where they picked up 266 yards on the ground led by RB Johnathan Franklin (158 yards and 3 TD against Houston). The Bruins’ rushing offense will face a tough run D of Texas that held Texas Tech to -14 rushing yards. The Longhorns have the nation’s top ranked rushing defense only allowing an average of 44 yards per game.
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UCLA QB Kevin Prince will have to step it up in this game if Texas can stop the run, but he only leads a Bruins passing offense that ranks 118th in the nation out of 120 FBS teams.
Look for Texas to play well on both sides of the ball, as they do not pose a good match up for UCLA. The Longhorns will run the ball well and Gilbert will have a good game and the UT defense will thwart the Bruins and keep them from scoring a lot of points.
The Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games and they have an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 road games against teams with a winning home record.
The Longhorns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games, and they have an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games and in their last 5 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Sure, UCLA beat Houston last week and looked good doing it, but they will lose this game and lose it big, as Texas will win easily and cover the spread.