Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 picks: UCLA has momentum while Utah tries to keep dam from breaking

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Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 4-3 (.571).

Javier Morales Against the Spread: 4-3 (.571).

UCLAUtah

UCLA at UTAH

When: Tonight, 7 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City. TV: Fox Sports 1.

Spread: UCLA by 4.5.

When does UCLA play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 9, Arizona Stadium

When does Utah play Arizona?: Sat., Oct. 19, Arizona Stadium

Why UCLA will win: The Bruins have one of the most balanced offenses in the nation with running Jordon James complementing versatile quarterback Brett Hundley. The Bruins average 284.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 13th in the country. James (141.3 yards per game) and Hundley (52.3) are mostly responsible for the successful ground game.

Why Utah will win: Opponents are gaining 3.0 yards per carry and the Utes have allowed just three rushing touchdowns through the first four games. Trevor Reilly, a senior defensive end/outside linebacker, leads the Utes with six tackles for lost yardage, including two sacks. The Utes have 31 tackles for lost yardage, averaging 7.8 a game.

Outcome: UCLA by 10

Reason: The strength-vs.-strength game (run vs. run defense) will be won by UCLA because of Hundley’s versatility and the Bruins’ high confidence level under Jim Mora. Utah, which has started 0-4 in its first two Pac-12 seasons, is trying to avoid an 0-2 start this season. While Mora is flourishing, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has the hottest seat among conference coaches with Lane Kiffin gone at USC.

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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