This is one part of a two-part post in which we take two positions, politician-style. For the flip side of the coin, where Washington State will beat the Bruins, go here.
UCLA will beat Washington State because, let’s be honest, Washington State is the second-worst team in the conference (we see you, Colorado).
Because Washinton State ranks at or near the bottom in every statistical category in football, save for passing yards (likely a function of the team getting blown out early and throwing the ball left and right to make up for lost time).
Points per game? 112th in the nation at 18.4 a contest. Total offense in yards per game? 96th with 353 yards a contest. Third down conversion percentage? 106th at 33.6 percent third down conversion rate. Rushing yards a game? Dead last in the country at 19.5 yards gained on the ground per contest. Scoring defense? Washington State’s 94th in the nation, allowing 33.2 points a game.
We can go on (85th in yards allowed per game at 434; OK, we’re done), but it’s clear that Washington State won’t be much trouble for these UCLA Bruins, a squad that is in the top-20 in the nation in almost every offensive category. A team that, for the first time in awhile, wins the conference road games the way they’re expected to win them, save for an aberrant loss to Cal.
UCLA might look ahead to their showdown with USC, likely the most important rivalry game for these two since 2001. But not even complacency will slow down the freight train that is UCLA football.
The Bruins understand the importance of winning this game and going in to their November 17 match-up with an 8-2 record (the first time UCLA will have earned more than seven wins since, you guessed it, 2005). Washington State is notorious for keeping games that they shouldn’t win closer than what they should be, at least this season, and it isn’t as if UCLA wouldn’t have figured this out already.
Those Washington State skill players are nothing to be afraid of, with both quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday subbing in for each other because they can’t stop playing terribly. Marquess Wilson, Washington State’s best offensive skill player by far, has been suspended after walking out of practice. The statistically-mighty passing game? The only facet of this WSU team that could raise hell for UCLA, particularly the oft-maligned Bruin secondary? That’s depleted now.
There won’t be any “trap game” or “upsets” in Pullman, WA, this week. Cold weather be damned, UCLA’s coming out with a massive win, 44-20, displaying their offensive prowess while putting the game away early.