UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal
Date and Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
Opening College Football Odds: Stanford -6.5
UCLA vs. Stanford TV Coverage: ESPN
David Shaw isn't used to losing. He's also not used to losing back-to-back games. Alas, Shaw is going to have to figure out how to rally his troops after a backbreaking 20-17 loss at San Diego State last week. To lose to USC was one thing, but to come back and get beaten and physically dominated by San Diego State is not acceptable.
Shaw is a good coach and is likely to get this turned around at Stanford, but this schedule isn't getting any easier now against UCLA.
The biggest problem that we have with the Cardinal is that they just aren't playing well on either line of scrimmage right now. They rank No. 111 against the run in the nation this year, and though they are averaging 210.3 yards per game on the ground, all of that is really thanks to Bryce Love and his tremendous talent at running back more than the play of the offensive line.
UCLA is a one-man band right now. Josh Rosen admitted that he played "hero ball" last week against Memphis, and he flat out came up short thanks to a couple turnovers.
Rosen accounted for the third-most yards of total offense in a game in UCLA history, throwing for 463 yards and rushing for 32 more. That said, his four touchdown passes weren't enough in a 48-45 loss at Memphis.
24.0 – The number of points per game the Bruins are allowing in first halves this year.
Let's just toss that Hawaii game out the window, shall we? Against Texas A&M and Memphis, the Bruins allowed 65 points in the first half. It's no wonder why Rosen feels like he has to play "hero ball," as he called it.
The Bruins rank No. 123 in the nation in total yardage at 515.3 yards per game allowed, No. 124 against the rush at 275.0 yards per game allowed and No. 122 in scoring at 38.3 points per game allowed. You aren't winning games in a conference like the Pac-12 by allowing yardage and point totals like that, and we haven't even seen UCLA play against any of the best teams on its schedule as of yet.
UCLA vs. Stanford Free Picks
Even though this game isn't going to mean much on the national scale, NFL scouts are going to be all over this game. Though Stanford's defense has been much-maligned this season, there is still a lot of talent out on that field that could be playing on Sundays.
Rosen, who is still absolutely a contender to be the top pick in the NFL Draft in just a few short months, is going to have a lot to prove. It's not about the passing yards. It's not about the touchdowns. It's not about his ability to come from behind. It's about his ability to lead a football team and ultimately figure out how to manage a game.
We just don't think he can do that, and all of the top online sportsbooks are telling you the same thing with this spread. Given the choice of backing Shaw and backing Jim Mora Jr., this is a no-contest. Give us the team that we still think is the better of the two squads, especially at home against a team that has had absolutely no semblance of defense over the course of this entire season.
College Football ATS Pick: Stanford -6.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Stanford 34, UCLA 24