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Pregame Guesses: UCLA Bruins v. Memphis Tigers

The Bruins first road contest of the year takes the Bruins to Memphis. BN has questions

Hawaii v UCLA Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Hello, it’s me orlandobruin, and it’s time for another edition of Pregame Guesses!

no I can’t do that for my guest spot let me try again.

As you may have noticed, I am not orlandobruin. It is actually Dimitri, here in the flesh. As you may have guessed from his handle, orlandobruin operates out of the state of Florida, which meant he got to deal with Irma this past weekend. The good news is that he and his family are ok, they’re just without power at the moment. So you get me instead. Blame Irma.

Or just blame Hurricanes in general. I know most of us have been doing just that since 1998.

Anyway, on with the show!

I’ve always been jealous of guys like orlandobruin and gbruin because of columns like these, because they got to just talk to the readers about life, or themselves, or even how things made them feel on a weekly basis. It’s so different from the Eye Test or everything else I get to do, so I’m relishing doing this right now.

This week, since I won’t be back, I chose two songs that I think work. The good news is: both of these songs are related. The bad news is: they’re from Hamilton and now you get to hear me talk about Hamilton. I’m so sorry.

This first song feels a bit obvious. A hurricane is literally the reason I’m writing this song, but there’s more to it than that. In Hamilton, a hurricane was one of the first major moments of Alexander Hamilton’s life, which creates an opportunity for Hamilton to change the course of his life, as he literally “wrote his way out” of a poor situation to become a major figure in early American history.

To juxtapose that to UCLA, last year was the hurricane that left doubts as to the course of the Bruin football program under Jim Mora. And now we get to see Jim Mora’s response to the hurricane, as he tries to prove that the hurricane will not be the ending of his story; that he will be the one to tell the story of UCLA football’s return to greatness. Suffice to say that history will have its eyes on him.

This also applies to Josh Rosen as well. It’s hard not to see his shoulder injury as a personal hurricane, and now he’s writing his way out by taking the college football landscape by storm. He’s gotten the opportunity to reinvent himself thanks to the injury, reminding everyone that he is an incredibly gifted quarterback.

Again, another choice that feels obvious. Personally, I’m trying not to throw away my shot in writing this thing, and we’ll see how that goes.

For the Bruins, it’s a team consisting of players who are “young, scrappy, and hungry”, especially after a disappointing season the previous year. They’re players who’ve spent the offseason being told they’re not very good, hearing that their football team is a group of perennial underachievers, and having every national pundit essentially write them off. So they’ve spent the first two games reminding everyone that they exist and have talent, but Memphis represents its own unique challenge.

The question now becomes: will UCLA throw away their shot at returning to the national stage?

Ok, one last song.

The last time a major UCLA sports team was in Memphis, we saw the last of Lonzo Ball in a UCLA uniform, and the Bruins lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Here’s hoping the Bruins can earn a different result.

Also I just really like this song, and it’s about Memphis, so it works. This is why orlandobruin is better at this than me - he has a little something called restraint that I clearly lack.

Now it’s time to get to the guesses!

It’s only been two games, but Josh Rosen has already announced his presence as an early Heisman favorite. Through 2 games this season, he’s already thrown for 820 yards and 9 touchdowns, and with one more touchdown pass he’ll have already passed his total from his injury-plagued 2016. Let’s throw another log on this fire, and mention that Memphis’s secondary is....well, not great. They’re definitely inexperienced, and the Memphis defense on the whole isn’t very good. So, with all that said, let’s get to PREGAME GUESS NUMBER ONE: Over or under - Josh Rosen will throw for 3.5 touchdowns tomorrow (and for people who will ask “how do you throw for half a touchdown?”, it’s called betting. So bet under if you think there will be 3 or less touchdown passes, and over if you think 4 or more).

Hey, in case you managed to miss it last week, UCLA actually ran for over 100 yards last week, a total they only reached twice last year! They managed that despite not having the services of Soso Jamabo, who was held out of the game with an injury, but Nate Starks saw his first extended run of play and did well, gaining 42 yards on 7 carries. Bolu Olorunfunmi leads the team with 63 yards rushing, and this says nothing of other running backs Demetrice Felton, Brandon Stephens, and Jalen Starks, which now leads to PREGAME GUESS NUMBER TWO: Predict which UCLA running back will lead the team in rushing in this game, and whether the Bruins break the century mark in rushing for the second week in a row.

The UCLA defense has had issues so far this year, a puzzling development for a unit that was believed to be a strength going into the season. The Bruins have allowed 2 teams to rush for over 200 yards, and are allowing 33.5 points per game, which makes them the 105th scoring defense in the country. Memphis’s strength is their offense, and UCLA may be without the services of a few key starters in Kenny Young, Jaleel Wadood, and Adarius Pickett, along with missing Josh Woods for the first half thanks to a poor targeting call. So, with all that said PREGAME GUESS NUMBER THREE: True or false - the Bruins will hold the Tigers under their season average of 33.5 points allowed.

BONUS GUESS: This game is on the road, which makes doing some kind of attendance guess a bit harder. So we’ll go with a simpler Bonus Guess: What will the final score be?

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this special guest edition of Pregame Guesses. Hopefully Mother Nature stops being a jerk and orlandobruin can be back next week, and I can stop embarrassing myself. Make sure to put your guesses down in the comments below, and we’ll see you all next week.

Go Bruins!