College Football Pick: Texas vs. UCLA
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Texas -3.5
The Texas Longhorns were embarrassed by the UCLA Bruins last year in Austin. The Bruins went to Austin as 15.5 point underdogs, but they come out with a 34-12 victory over the Longhorns. The Bruins will host the Longhorns this weekend, and you can bet there are plenty of Texas players who are looking to exact some revenge.
It appears the Garrett Gilbert era is over at Texas. Gilbert was benched last week, and he is now listed as the third string quarterback. Case McCoy, the younger brother of Colt McCoy, will get most of the snaps at the quarterback spot. Expect David Ash, a talented freshman signal caller, to get some reps from time to time. It wasn’t pretty, but Texas did fight to a 17-16 victory over BYU last weekend. The Longhorns finished with just 123 yards passing, but McCoy went 7 for 8 in his time under center. Freshman running back Malcolm Brown appears to be the team’s best play maker. Brown is averaging 5.0 yards per carry so far this year. Jaxon Shipley, younger brother of Jordan Shipley, is quickly becoming a force on the outside.
The Texas defense was good last year, and they have started 2011 off in fine fashion. Both Rice and BYU were held to less than 250 yards of total offense. The Longhorns defense has allowed just 25 points so far this season. This defense has a lot of depth all over the field. Expect this unit to keep Texas in most games this season.
UCLA suffered a tough 38-34 loss against Houston in week one, but the Bruins did bounce back to defeat San Jose State 27-17 last week. Kevin Prince is once again battling injury problems. Prince suffered a concussion as well as a sprained shoulder in the opening game of the season. Richard Brehaut has filled in admirably over the last six quarters. Brehaut isn’t a dynamic passer, but he has been making good decisions with the football. The strength of this UCLA offense is its running game. Johnathan Franklin is one of the country’s best tailbacks. Franklin is averaging 6.2 yards per carry already this year. He is the type of back that has a rare combination of speed and strength that can make life difficult for the opposing defense.
The Bruins defense took a huge step backward last year. UCLA allowed 30.3 points per game last year after allowing just 21.2 points per game in 2009. The defensive line is filled with talent, but the linebacker position could be a concern this season. Akeem Ayres and Rahim Moore are both gone from last year’s team, and those two are significant losses. This defense has play makers, but they need to become more consistent.
You have to expect Texas to be fired up for this one, but I do think UCLA will be ready as well. Texas is just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games. Since they are getting a little more than a field goal at home, I think UCLA is the play here.
Free College Football Pick: UCLA +3.5
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