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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 14, 2008 at 5:20 PM

The pick — Bruins

I really thought about picking the Huskies this week.
UCLA, frankly, just isn’t that good. Look through the Pac-10 stats and in an awful lot of them UCLA is No. 8, UW No. 9 and WSU No. 10.
There was also that part of me that thought maybe the Huskies will get up for this one with the return of Rick Neuheisel and the last home game for the seniors and all that.
But then, none of that stuff ever really seems to matter with this team.
And maybe it wouldn’t matter if it did.
The Huskies seemed like they were as up as they’ve been all season for the first half of the ASU game last week. But then reality took over and it came down to which team was better, and ASU pulled away.
The Sun Devils aren’t really any good this year, either, and the reality is they could have won that game by a lot more than they did.
So while UCLA isn’t that good, they are better than the Huskies, and no one’s gone wrong betting on the better team against the Huskies in quite a while.
When I broke down the positions, here’s what I came up with:
QB — Split. Ronnie Fouch has regressed of late, as has Kevin Craft.
RB — UCLA. Khalil Bell is not having much of a year, but he has a pretty good track record .
WR — UCLA. A slight edge to the Bruins based on more depth.
OL — UW. UCLA’s O-line is the worst part of its team.
DL — UCLA. Brian Price and Brigham Harwell are pretty good tackles.
LB — UW. UCLA has a decent unit, but I gave the nod to what has been an improved group for the Huskies since the switch was made with Donald Butler moving to the outside, and getting Chris Stevens on the field more.
DB — UCLA. Bruins rank 19th in the country in pass defense; CB Alterraun Verner is pretty good.
Special teams — UCLA. A grudging pick for UCLA after UW turned in its best performance of the year last week. But UCLA’s kickers have lots better stats and Terrance Austin is a dangerous returner.
Maybe the Huskies will really come out and play hard for the seniors at home. On the other hand, UW has lost its last four senior days, a couple of times in performances that weren’t all that great (2005 Apple Cup, 2006 Stanford game) so there’s not much history there to suggest that will matter much.
Ultimately, UCLA seems to have just as much emotion on its side as UW — the Bruins will want to play for their coach, knowing how much this game will mean to him, and they still have postseason hopes. So if all that stuff equals out, the Bruins are simply a little better. Hence, a 23-14 UCLA win.

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