Cincinnati Bearcats (4-8) at UCLA Bruins (6-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 1, 2018, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: UCLA Bruins -14 -- Over/Under: 57
The Cincinnati Bearcats will travel to the Rose Bowl to take on the UCLA Bruins this upcoming Saturday night in College Football action.
The Cincinnati Bearcats had a tough season last year as the Bearcats lost 7 of their last 9 games and finished their season with an overall record of 4-8 (2-6 AAC). Offensively, Cincinnati really struggled last season to generate anything and finished the year averaging just 20.9 ppg on 351.8 total yards per game (135.3 rushing yds/g; 216.4 passing yds/g). Cincinnati’s offense will be returning only five starters from last year’s team however, will be happy to have senior Hayden Moore back under center. Moore was one of the very few bright spots of the Cincinnati offense last season as he completed 56.4% of his passes with 20 TD & 9 INT while averaging 213.5 passing yds/g. Moore will have two of his three top receivers returning in Kahlil Lewis (5.1 rec/g; 56.3 yds/g; 7 TD) and Thomas Geddis (2.4 rec/g; 32.3 yds/g; 3 TD). The Bearcats hope that RB Gerrid Doaks will continue to improve in his sophomore season after finishing his freshman campaign with 2 TD’s while averaging a team high 57.0 rushing yds/. Defensively, Cincinnati allowed their opponents to average 31.8 ppg on 428.5 total yards per game (192.4 rushing yds/g; 236.1 passing yds/g). Cincinnati will be returning 6 starters and will be led by one of the better DL in the AAC in Marquise Copeland.
The UCLA Bruins finished last season with a disappointing 6-7 (4-5 PAC-12) overall record which included a 35-17 defeat in the Cactus Bowl agianst Kansas State, however, the Bruins have some new energy surrounding the program as they hired Chip Kelly to take over head coaching duties in the offseason. Offensively, UCLA averaged 32.5 ppg on 457.8 total yards per game (113.4 rushing yds/g; 344.5 passing yds/g) last season however, the Bruins no longer will have star QB Josh Rosen under center. Kelly has had wide open QB competition so far this spring as of today, there is still no official starting QB although early it seems that Devon Modster, who backed up Rosen last year and played well in limited opportunities, would not be the surprising choice by Kelly. UCLA will have plenty experience in the backfield in Bolu Olorunfunmi (9.8 att/g; 47.1 yds/g; 5 TD) and Soso Jamabo (9.0 att/g; 44.6 yds/g; 6 TD). Theo Howard will be the main target at the receiver position after having a production year last season that saw him score 4 TD’s and average 45.7 yds/g. Defensively, UCLA struggled last season as they allowed opponents to average 36.6 ppg on 483.7 total yards per game (287.4 rushing yds/g; 196.3 passing yds/g). The UCLA defense will return six starters and will be led by LB Jaelan Phillips and CB Nate Meadors.
The Bearcats are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games overall and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games on grass. The Bruins are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games overall and 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games in September.
Both Cincinnati and UCLA are in rebuilding mode however, the outlook for the Bruins with Kelly looks much brighter for this season as even without a ton of talent, you figure that the Bruins will be able to have some success on the offensive end. Cincinnati has some solid experience at impact positions by the overall talent level is lacking for the Bearcats in Hayden Moore and Gerrid Doaks however the defense really struggled last season getting off the field and keeping points of the scoreboard. I’m a bit concerned by the lack of commitment at the QB position for the Bruins with their opener just a week away, however, Cincinnati wasn’t a very good road team last season and as I think the Bruins will come out of the gates and take a solid lead early in this one, I think the Bruins will be able to cover this large home spread. Take UCLA to cover.