Welcome to Pregames Guesses, the Week Three edition of the 2019 UCLA Bruins football season. No matter how Rose Bowl-colored your glasses are, things are not looking rosy for Bruin fans so far this season. The Bruins have been underwhelming at best in two losses at Cincinnati and at home to San Diego State, the first time the Bruins have ever lost to the Aztecs. Now UCLA faces a stiffer test, the #5 Oklahoma Sooners, an offensive juggernaut, at 5 pm PT tomorrow night in a nationally televised game on FOX.
With the disappointing start, UCLA fans are beginning to point fingers. At Chip Kelly, who is 3-11 as UCLA Head Coach. At Dorian Thompson Robinson, who was better last week but still not great or even good. At offensive coordinator, Justin Frye, as UCLA is #126 out of #130 FBS teams in total offense. At defensive coordinator, Jerry Azzinaro for a defense that still cannot pressure the passer or stop teams on third and long. And, of course, at UCLA’s esteemed athletic director. So who truly is the bad guy?
Other than that last sentence, there will be no further exposition this week. Here’s my tune, make of it what you will:
It’s “bad guy” by Billie Eilish, definitely the most contemporary song ever on PGG.
Onto the guesses . . .
In BN’s San Diego State Roundtable this week, I mentioned that if I was in Vegas I would bet hundreds against the Bruins and the spread, which was 21 points at the time. DISCLAIMER: I have never bet against any UCLA team. Now the spread is 231⁄2. I’d still bet against the Bruins. Would you? PREGAME GUESS NUMBER ONE: Will UCLA cover the 231⁄2-point spread at home versus Oklahoma?
I mentioned total offense earlier in this article. Well, while the Bruins sit near the bottom of the FBS heap, averaging just 239.5 yards per game, Oklahoma sits at the pinnacle. The Sooners are #1 in total offense, gaining an average of 709.5 yards per game through two games. Yikes. Oklahoma averages about the same amount of yards in about 40 minutes of play as what UCLA has gained on the entire season. Barring some sort of miracle, this will not end well for Bruins fans. A two parter. PREGAME GUESS NUMBER TWO: Predict the total offensive yards that Oklahoma will gain. Predict the total offensive yards that UCLA will gain.
Part of why Oklahoma is really good is because of quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Alabama transfer and 2017 national champion is ranked #18 in the country in passing yards this season, but has attempted far fewer passing attempts (41) than any quarterback ahead of him. On top of that, Hurts has rushed for 223 yards on 29 attempts, a 9.3-yard average per carry. DTR, conversely, has -39 rushing yards on 17 attempts, a -2.3 average. Hurts has six touchdowns through the air and three with his legs. PGG #3 will be a PGG record seven parter! PREGAME GUESS NUMBER THREE: Predict Jalen Hurts full stat line—completed passes; passing attempts; passing yards; passing TDs; rushing carries; rushing yards; rushing TDs.
BONUS GUESS: Predict the attendance at the Rose Bowl tomorrow. This is a tricky one. Not only does Oklahoma travel well, especially to California, but Bruins STHs have been offered additional free tickets to the game. Presumably so the Rose Bowl doesn’t look embarrassingly empty on national television.
That’s all folks—for this week that is!