UCLA vs. Cal fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley CA
Network: Pac-12 Network
UCLA (0-5) vs. Cal (3-2) Game Preview
One Reason Why UCLA Will Win
This doesn’t have to be a lost year. The Bruins are starting to show some improvement and it’s all about getting the young guys as many live reps as possible to be ready for 2019.
Freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson had his best game yet by a mile, hitting 71% of his throws for 272 yards and two scores in the 31-24 loss to Washington.
Junior Joshua Kelly has grown into the feature back with two 249 yards on just 32 carries over the last two games. There’s only one senior among the top 12 receivers so far, and a slew of underclassmen are playing big roles. There are only two seniors and 13 underclassmen among the top 20 tacklers.
So why does any of this mean the Bruins will win? It’s a process. It’s a youth movement, and there really are signs of improvement. And now, the Bruins are facing a team they can actually beat.
The Bears don’t have a downfield passing game, there have been a whole slew of turnovers – giving it up 14 times over the last four games – and there’s no pass rush. They Bruins will get the time for the offense to work, and they should get plenty of chances and opportunities to do big things if the D can force mistakes.
One Reason Why Cal Will Win
This is still a really, really young UCLA team, and it’s still not playing well.
The defense is still the second-worst in the nation coming up with third down stops, the return teams stink, and the offense still isn’t scoring enough. Yeah, the team played better last week against Washington, but it still only scored 24 points – and that was a season-high.
Cal isn’t going to have to do anything crazy. The team is first in the Pac-12 in time of possession, and it’s not that bad at converting on third downs and keeping things moving.
UCLA? Dead last – and third-worst in the country – in time of possession, and not in a Chip Kelly hurry-up offense sort of way.
Brandon McIlwain might be making a whole slew of mistakes, but he’s also adding a dynamic rushing element at quarterback. Chase Garbers will probably see more time again, too, and UCLA has to prepare for both.
Run Patrick Laird, hope McIlwain can get moving and not screw up when and if he has to put the ball up in the air, and dominate the time of possession and the tempo. Do that, and this shouldn’t be that hard.
What’s Going To Happen
After two straight losses and a slew of concerns about how to pull up out of the nosedive, the Bears get the perfect time to get UCLA in their house.
Really, the Bruins are starting to show a few signs of life. That might not mean much, but at some point they’ll put together a complete game. It won’t be this week, though.
Cal will grind out the clock, it’ll run for well over 200 yards, and it’ll come up with a solid win that might not be aesthetically pleasing, but will get the season back on track.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Cal 31, UCLA 23
Line: Cal -7, o/u: 52
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
Must See Rating: 2.5
5: Bad Times at the El Royale