It's the Alphabet Bowl out west this evening when UCLA plays host to BYU. Back the powerful Bruins in this one at home behind QB Ben Olson when the Cougars come to Los Angeles.
BYU heads to the City of Angels to face one of the most talented teams in the PAC-10. UCLA returns 20 starters this season from a team that shocked the world when it upset USC in the season finale just a year ago. As expected, the Bruins had no trouble taking down the Stanford Cardinal 45-17 last week.
Meanwhile, BYU came close to shutting out Arizona in Provo, winning 20-7. The Wildcats did manage one garbage touchdown, but the BYU defense was rather impressive. Now the Cougars take to the road, which hasn't been a place they've enjoyed early in the season in recent history. BYU has lost five straight road openers and is just 3-9 since 1995.
On the other side of the field, UCLA has had an amazing amount of success in their home openers covering the spread in 11 of their last 13 games. Last season they shut down Utah 31-10 in the home opener. The Bruins are 46-7-2 all-time versus current Mountain West Conference teams and 5-0-1 against the spread the last six.
BYU is 4-15 in its last 19 road openers and 6-12-1 against non-conference foes. Combine that with the tenacious defense that UCLA brings to the table and you have a recipe for disaster as far as BYU is concerned. The Cougars have a lot of talent, but their weaknesses will shine through in this one.
Look for UCLA QB Ben Olson and RB Kahlil Bell, who rushed for 195 yards (10.3 ypc) last week, to bring a balanced attack. The Bruins also have the edge on special teams. Take UCLA.
Free Pick: UCLA -7½