If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
If it keep on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
When the levee breaks, we have no play to stay . . .
I had to pick "When the Levee Breaks," Led Zeppelin’s last song from their 1971 album, Led Zeppelin VI. Didn't I? After all its Thursday evening while I'm writing this, I’m orlandobruin, and I have Matthew on the mind.
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Welcome to this week’s Pregame Guesses, where your writer is scrambling to get this piece finished and set for publication before I lose power and at least some of the creature comforts of a being a human being in 21st century U.S.A.
The UCLA Bruins, on the other hand, are riding high after a convincing win at home, and heading to Tempe to take on an Arizona State squad that can score points, but that gives up loads of points as well.
In fact, the Sun Devils have the worst passing defense in the NCAA FBS division. Arizona State surrenders 396.4 yards in the air per game, more that 40 yards worse than Rice, the second worst passing defense. UCLA’s sophomore quarterback, Josh Rosen, is coming off his best game of the 2016 season, throwing for 350 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
This is a great match up for UCLA and PREGAME GUESS #1 almost writes itself: Predict Josh’s statistics against ASU, including passing yardage, touchdowns, and interceptions.
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Although their defense allows a lot of points, Arizona State can put a lot of points on the board. The Sun Devils average 43 points per game, going enough for #17 in the nation, and have won shoot outs against the #1 offense in the nation, Texas Tech, and the number #19 offense in the nation, UC Berkeley. Impressive. ASU, however, has not faced a defense as stout as UCLA's, nor one with the excellent UCLA secondary. This would be a strength on strength except . . .
It is more probable that not that Arizona State will be missing its starting quarterback, Manny Wilkins, who engineered their four wins. Wilkins was injured in the 41-20 loss to Southern Cal, and was spelled by redshirt freshman, Brady White, who went 6-13 for 80 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate action. Although White is green, he was a highly touted four star prospect in the Class of 2015, so he can sling it.
PREGAME GUESS NUMBER #2: Same question as for Josh Rosen, but it applies to not only Brady White but any other quarterback that Arizona State may play against UCLA. How many yards, passing touchdowns, and interceptions will be recorded by Arizona State QBs?
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UCLA had a fine showing in the return game last week, with two kickoff returns exceeding 50 yard each, and one punt return exceeding 30 yards. The returns into enemy territory started drives that ultimately resulted in 17 points (two TDs and one FG) for UCLA. I really think that the return game was a spark for the offense and am hoping for a similar performance this week.
PREGAME GUESS #3: How many return yards (combined kick off returns and punt returns) will UCLA have on Saturday and, if any returns result in starting field position in Sun Devil territory, how many points will UCLA score with the short field?
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Finally, we have this week's prediction widget from The Crowd's Line, which lets you predict the final score of the ASU game.
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That's all folks! Make your guesses in the comment section.
Go Bruins!!! Beat ASU!