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NCAA Football: UCLA at UtahUCLA’s quest toward a Pac-12 title (or more) will take an assumed breather Saturday night as they host the rebuilding California Golden Bears in a Pac-12 matchup.

Things will pick up for UCLA who will travel to Stanford and then to Oregon in consecutive weeks to oppose the Cardinal and Ducks respectively, both teams that are assumed to be top-5 ranked squads.

The Bruins will be without running back Jordon James for at least tonight’s contest as he nurses a severely sprained ankle that he suffered in UCLA’s 34-27 win at Utah Oct. 3.

It will be an opportunity for Paul Perkins among others to show just what he’s made of.

Game 5
California Golden Bears (1-4) at #11 UCLA Bruins (4-0)
Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California
7:30 p.m.
Line: #11 UCLA (-25)

If Cal hasn’t had the toughest schedule in America thus far, I don’t know who does. They have played Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon and now UCLA, all ranked in the Top 25 throughout the season.

This is only their second game away from Berkeley, and the results are not pretty. They allowed at least 44 points in all but one game and 50 points twice.

Overall it’s 45 points/game they allow. UCLA scores 48 points/game, a number that decreased after putting up just 34 against Utah.

Connor Halliday of Washington State threw for 521 yards and three touchdowns a week ago at Memorial Stadium, something Bruins QB Brett Hundley has to be salivating at.

But then there’s the 264 yards rushing by Oregon the week before.

Really there is no defense out there for the Bears.

The Bruins could be looking at putting up record numbers in force with Perkins and Damien Thigpen in the backfield gaining valuable experience with the absence of James.

UCLA will also be looking to make up for the loss of tackle Torian White, who tore a ligament and will be out for the season.

[colored_box color=”blue”]WCB Sports Pick Center

LOG - California California LOG - UCLA #12 UCLA
Mark Fabrick LOG - UCLA
Jonathan Garza LOG - UCLA
Justin Garza LOG - UCLA
Walter Hammerwold LOG - California
Carlos Mariscal LOG - UCLA
Henry Montemayor The UCLA Bruins logo.
Isai Rocha LOG - California
West Coast Bias Nation (64%) The UCLA Bruins logo.

The Bears are capable of holding their own. They do average 27.8 points/game and 515.6 yards/game, 18th in the nation. Their 402.6 yards are fourth-best in the country.

They are led at quarterback by freshman Jared Goff who has thrown for 1,821 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

The wide receiver tandem of Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs is always dangerous and will present challenges to the UCLA secondary.

Junior Brendan Bigelow averaged 9.8 yards/carry a year ago but has seen his role diminish under new coach Sonny Dykes, who was made famous at Texas Tech with his Air Raid attack.

That said, the Bruins should have no problem more than holding back from looking forward to Stanford next week. But if you know Jim Mora, you understand he wouldn’t allow his team to do so.

Prediction: UCLA 63, California 20