This is it. Gameday. UCLA football has arrived, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time.
(Actually, yeah it could have. Six months ago would’ve been nice.)
With that, here are some key pieces of information for you to take in the game today.
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Betting Odds:UCLA, -21
Where to Watch: Pac-12 Network; Pac-12 Network Live Stream
UCLA enters its second season under the tutelage of NFL coaching journeyman Jim Mora. After a successful nine-win season in 2012, many eyes will be on the Bruins to see if the program really has improved, or if last season’s Bruins were merely an aberration in a decade of mediocrity.
Nevada, on the other hand, is currently battling through a coaching transition. Brian Polian, son of NFL general manager Bill Polian, has taken the reigns from recently retired, long-time Nevada coach Chris Ault. While Ault’s famed pistol offense will stay intact, star QB Cody Fajardo loses some key pieces surrounding him. Will Nevada falter without its legendary head coach at the helm once more?
Both teams were known for being offensive jauggernauts in 2012, with Nevada ranking in the top-10 in many offensive categories, while UCLA generally stood within the top-20.
Both programs are also losing star running backs after flagship seasons last year, but both boast upper-tier field generals in Brett Hundley and Cody Fajardo.
Where the teams differ on is defense. While UCLA’s defense was competent in 2012, they weren’t without fatal flaws and the secondary—a weakness last year—could potentially get worse in 2013. UCLA’s front seven, however, has been touted as the best in the Pac-12 conference.
Meanwhile, Nevada boasted one of the nation’s worst front-sevens while staying rather competent in the defensive backfield for much of the season. This year, Nevada loses almost all of its secondary and returns its entire front seven. Yikes.
PREDICTION: UCLA 40, Nevada 22.