Holiday Bowl Preview
UCLA (9-4) vs. Baylor (7-5)
December 27, 9:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
What to expect from the Bruins: After losing two straight games to Stanford in less than a week – including the Pac-12 Championship game – UCLA is more than ready to bounce back and earn the 10th win that has eluded it thus far. This is an all-around improved team from last season, and the program is quickly on the rise as one of the best in the conference (and the west coast).
Tonight will all be about putting points on the scoreboard. Both teams have premiere offensive units that can find the end zone in a hurry. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley should have no problems airing it out against a Baylor defense that ranks 118th (out of 120) vs. the pass, while Johnathan Franklin – one of the better running backs in the nation – will be able to find a lot of space between the gaps.
What to expect from the Bears: Nick Florence to throw for at least 400 yards. And that should surprise no one: Baylor owns the nation’s No. 3 pass offense with 353.3 yards per game, while the Bruins have the nation's 91st-ranked pass defense. But will 400 yards be enough? We’ll have to see.
There’s no doubt that the Bears will have to score at least 40 points to win this game. In their five losses this season, they’re allowing an average of 50.4 points – including 70 to West Virginia in a seven-point differential.
Synopsis: Baylor finished first in the FBS in total offensive yards gained this season. Its defense, on the other hand, ended up next-to-last in yards allowed. The difference with UCLA is the fact that the fact that the Bruins can force turnovers – they’ve forced 29 this year, which is good for 14th in the nation.
I hope you bet the over.
UCLA 44, Baylor 35 --- via Bowl Predictions