UCLA vs. Cincinnati fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
UCLA (0-0) vs. Cincinnati (0-0) Game Preview
In Chip Kelly’s first game as a college football head coach, his Oregon team was stuffed cold in a 19-8 loss to Boise State.
The debut was even uglier when it ended with LeGarrette Blount punching a mouthy Bronco who got in his face.
As bas as that was, Oregon went on to win the Pac-10 title and go to the Rose Bowl. After that debut, Kelly went 46-6 as a head coach, and now he’s UCLA’s guy.
In a perfect world, the Kelly era with the Bruins is far easier, with everything looking great right away and several quarterbacks getting their shot in live action.
However, Cincinnati should have a strong enough team in Year Two under head man Luke Fickell to make this a battle. The offense should be better with several good veterans returning, and the defense has the upside to hold up against whatever the Kelly offense is right out of the gate.
With a trip to Oklahoma coming up next, Cincinnati has to be a warm-up for the up-tempo UCLA attack. But Kelly’s team should be in for a battle.
It won’t come to blows, though.
One Reason Why Cincinnati Will Win
Just how quickly can UCLA’s run defense get better under the new coaching staff?
The focus has been on the offense, and Kelly, and the quarterback situation, and the flash, but the biggest issue is a defense that was among the worst in college football – allowing almost 500 yards per game – and was dead last in the nation against the run, giving up 287 yards per outing.
Cincinnati struggled to grind it out on the ground, but there’s a good-sized line returning to pave the way for a good group of backs. This can be a big-play running game with the pace of the attack there to get into a groove, but at the same time, UC has to try controlling the clock for long periods of time.
One Reason Why UCLA Will Win
Kelly doesn’t care a lick about time of possession, but neither does Cincinnati.
The Bearcats like to operate at a decent pace, but they’re not going to be as good at it as UCLA. The type of underdog that has a shot at beating the Bruins needs to be able to grind out big drives and control the game – that’s not UC.
Worse yet, even though the Bearcats have a good group of veterans retuning, there’s a long way to go for this O to be merely okay, finishing 101st in the nation and last in the American Athletic Conference in total offense.
What’s Going To Happen
UCLA is going to look fantastic.
Everything Bruin fans were hoping for out of the Chip Kelly era is going to seem as it it’s happening right away, with an offense that starts to roll after a few rocky first drives, the tempo that takes over the game, and with too much pop for the Bearcats to deal with.
Cincinnati’s offense might have a few good moments against a still-iffy Bruin D, but the Kelly O will go fast, fast, fast, setting up the Oklahoma game the following week as a big deal to care about.
Fearless Prediction & Line
UCLA 41, Cincinnati 20
Line: UCLA -16.5, o/u: 59
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5
Must See Rating: 3
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