Over/Under 5 Wins () vs UCLA Bruins ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: Cincinnati Bearcats @ UCLA Bruins 7:00 PM
Location : Rose Bowl
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 5 Wins vs UCLA Bruins
The UCLA Bruins have taken a backseat in the Los Angeles college football world as their crosstown rivals have been one of the best teams in football for the last 20 years or so but the Bruins have made some necessary moves in the right direction which may have them climb back to relevancy. The Jim Mora era started off so good for UCLA but over the last few years he fell off as he led the Bruins to two consecutive losing seasons. Chip Kelly has been out of the coaching circuit for 2 years now but his time at Oregon was one of the best runs for a college coach in recent memory and the Bruins are hoping the offensive mastermind gets this program back on track. Chip Kelly had an explosive offense in his time at Oregon and although he is reloading a ton of key players on that side of the ball his concern may reside on the defensive side of things. The Bruins were good enough to make a bowl game last year but the term good only goes so far as the defense was awful last year as they were the 117th ranked scoring defense. Los Angeles is a hotbed for high school football and that should play in the hands of Chip Kelly as they should contain most of the California Talent. Chip Kelly only had a few months to work on his 2018 recruiting class but it wasn’t bad by any means as they ranked 19th in the nation with nine 4-star recruits on board for the Bruins.
Over/Under 5 Wins's Latest Performance :
The Bruins went 5-6 under Jim Mora last season but a victory over California in week 12 under interim coach Jedd Fisch is what ultimately sprawled UCLA to the Cactus Bowl where the eventually fell to Kansas State. UCLA hopes to get a new bowl streak started after their previous 5 game streak was snapped back in 2016 but Chip Kelly will have to do wonders with an offense that has no direction at QB and a defense who is coming off a terrible season which is why the over/under has been set at 5 wins.
Tough Close To The Season
The UCLA Bruins will not admit that they are rebuilding their program but after looking at their rough schedule this season it is safe to say that Chip Kelly will have to bring this team from the bottom up. The Bruins will open their season at home against Cincinnati which should be an easy welcome home game for Chip Kelly but what resides in week 2 is what should scare Kelly out of his pants. UCLA will have to travel to the reigning Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners on 9/8 which will push Chip Kelly and his young inexperienced team to the brink which will essentially be a checkpoint of their rebuild. Being in the Pac-12 is rough as you have to see some of the top teams in college football every week but the one positive for the Bruins is the fact that they will host three of the top teams in the conference. UCLA’s opening home conference game will be against the tough Washington Huskies and then on top of that, the last two games of the season will be USC and Stanford. UCLA may need to make their magic happen on the road if they want any shot of making a bowl game as they will travel to Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State.
UCLA Bruins 's Latest Performance :
UCLA might be remembered for their 34-point comeback win last year against Texas A&M which was headed by Josh Rosen but their former 5-star QB is now playing in the NFL which leaves Chip Kelly a huge void at arguably the most important position in football. First-rounder Josh Rosen threw for 3,756 yards and 26 TDs last year but behind him the only experience resides with Devon Modster who threw for 617 yards and 4 TDs in the sparse time he saw. Moodster looks like the obvious chose due to experience but Kelly may ultimately decide to start the #2 QB in the 2018 recruiting class as Dorian Thompson-Robinson comes to Los Angeles over Alabama, Florida State, LSU, and Oregon. The running back unit will be strong and experienced for the Bruins entering 2018 as they return their top two rushers from last season in Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo who combined for 1,011 yards and 11 TDs in a split role. UCLA lost their only 1,000-yard pass catcher from last season in Jordan Lasley (1,264 yards and 9 TDs) but Theo Howard should be ready to step into a bigger role in his junior season after the California native compiled 594 yards and 4 TDs as a third option. A name to also watch will be 4-star recruit Kyle Phillips as the 5’11 pass catcher has been on campus since January learning the new Chip Kelly system, expect him to fill the void in the slot. The defense was one of the worst out of all the power 5 schools and Chip Kelly will inherit a unit that will be missing their top defender from 2017 as LB Kenny Young (110 tackles, 8.5 TFL) used up all 4 years of eligibility. The linebacker unit may look weak without their captain but they still return some quality talent as Keisean Lucier-South and Jaelan Phillips (74 tackles, 12.5 TFL) return to the starting lineup. Joining Lucier-South and Phillips will be 4-star OLB Bo Calvert who was flipped over from their hated rivals in USC two days before signing day. The secondary will also be one of the stronger units for the Bruins as they return both experience and talent. Adarius Pickett will command the middle of the secondary and the redshirt senior is effective in both the run game as well as in the passing game as the California native was 2nd on the team in tackles with 85 as well as contributed 1 interception.
Player To Watch
Mique Juarez, LB, RS Soph.
The linebacker position may be missing their top guys from last season but outside of their returning starters, they return a ton of depth with a 4-star recruit coming in as well as a former 5-star recruit in Juarez. Juarez was the #1 LB in the nation back in 2016 and weighed options from every school in the nation but after the California native only saw action in 3 games during his Freshman season Juarez weighed transfer options which prompted him to leave the team last offseason. Juarez missed out on a year of playing but the sophomore is back in Los Angeles and the 3rd starting linebacker spot is his to lose, expect him to play a role this season for Chip Kelly.
How Over/Under 5 Wins & UCLA Bruins Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 5 Wins -110
Under 5 Wins -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Cincinnati- W
9/8- @ Oklahoma- L
9/15- Fresno State- W
9/28- @ Colorado- W
10/6- Washington- L
10/13- @ Cal- L
10/20- Arizona- W
10/26- Utah- W
11/3- @ Oregon- L
11/10- @ Arizona State- W
11/17- USC- L
11/24- Stanford- L
Overall Record: 6-6
Against The Spread Selection: Over 5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
Mark my words: The UCLA Bruins will run the Pac-12 South in 3 years as they will take substantial strides under offensive mastermind Chip Kelly but unfortunately that doesn’t help us in 2018. The Bruins will do enough to make a bowl game as the offense should be even better than last year even though they will be missing Rosen as Thompson-Robinson fits perfectly into what Kelly wants (Mariotta type of player). The defense for the Bruins can’t get much worse than it did last season and considering the fact that their 117th ranked unit got them to a bowl game there is no reason they can’t do that again. Another reason that I like the Bruins above the 5 win total is that I believe Chip Kelly will be able to spark up some magic in either the Washington, USC, or Stanford games as he will get to see these top-tier teams in Los Angeles. I marked the Bruins with L’s in those games and I still feel comfortable backing the over but given the fact that they can possibly pull an upset there is no reason not to back the over.