UCLA Bruins vs. Memphis Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Opening College Football Odds: UCLA -4.5
UCLA vs. Memphis TV Coverage: ABC/ESPN2
Josh Rosen is quickly turning into a folk hero once again at UCLA. He was known as "Chosen Rosen" in high school when he was one of the top recruits in the nation. Now, after a couple challenging and injury-riddled seasons, Rosen is back at the top of his game and has helped put 100 points on the board for UCLA in his first two games of the season.
It's really hard to put the entire burden of a team on one man's back, but Rosen is going to be expected to lead the way. He's averaging 9.8 yards per pass attempt and has yet to be picked off in 84 attempts in two games. He's spreading the ball around, too with four receivers with at least 100 yards, and a touchdown. Both Caleb Wilson and Darren Andrews are pointed towards 1,000-yard seasons, as they have 34 catches and 473 yards between them already.
Memphis unfortunately lost out on a big conference game against UCF last week due to Hurricane Irma. We didn't learn a lot about the Tigers in their first game of the season against a poor Louisiana Monroe team, though at least the 37-29 victory was a 'W'.
It was shockingly a bit of a struggle for the Memphis passing game. Riley Ferguson threw for nearly 3,700 yards last season, but he went just 10-for-25 for 97 yards and a pick back in Week 1.
The good news for Ferguson is that his ground game was on point. Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr. combined for exactly 300 rushing yards on just 27 carries with three total touchdowns, and both men broke a 60+ yard run for a score over the course of the game, while Henderson also had a 55-yard touchdown scamper. The Tigers also tacked on a 99-yard kickoff return for a score to start the third quarter that effectively put that game away.
We always say that these West Coast teams that come out to the East Coast and try to get ready for games have a really tough time doing so. The Bruins aren't going to be able to get out to Memphis for a little while, knowing that Tennessee is going to be dealing with the aftereffects of Hurricane Irma in all likelihood through the middle of the week. That leaves very little transition time for the Bruins to get acclimated to their new time zone.
This game is effectively going to be played at 9 a.m. back out on the West Coast, and the Bruins can't afford a similar slumber to what they had in the first half against Texas A&M and expect to live to tell about it again.
UCLA vs. Memphis Free Picks
This Memphis team really had put away ULM a few times, leading 37-14 going into the fourth quarter before giving up a couple really late touchdowns. Ferguson is going to improve, and if this running game can be as explosive against UCLA as it was against the Warhawks, this could end up being a game that is much closer than the oddsmakers at all of the top online sportsbooks would suggest.
At some point, the Rosen bandwagon is going to fall into a ditch, and we don't want to be on his back when that happens. Going out on the road is going to create a whole new environment for Rosen this year, and we're not sure he's ready for this quite yet. We like the Tigers for the upset.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Memphis at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Memphis 31, UCLA 27