Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 Picks: Battered, bruised Bruins host believing Buffaloes

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Note: I do not pick non-conference games and those involving Arizona (since this is an Arizona-based Web site).

Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 20-7 (.741).

Javier Morales Against the Spread: 19-8 (.704).

helmet.Colorado

helmet.UCLA

COLORADO at UCLA

When: Today, 4:30 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena. TV: Fox Sports 1.

Spread: UCLA by 28.

When does Colorado play Arizona?: The Wildcats beat the Buffaloes 44-20 last week.

When does UCLA play Arizona?: The teams meet next Saturday at Arizona Stadium at 8 p.m.

Why Colorado will win: The Buffaloes are a different team than recent history. They were competitive, trailing Arizona 27-20 in the third quarter last week before the Wildcats scored the last 17 points. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyee told his team that it played well enough to beat Arizona. He said losing to the Wildcats hurt “because we can beat this team.” Bottom line is Colorado lost by 24 at home. The Buffaloes have a long way to go, but they are headed in the right direction and capable of an upset.

Why UCLA will win: UCLA ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12 in rushing offense with an average of 201.4 yards per game and that is without leading rusher Jordon James (out the last three games with an ankle injury). The Bruins showed signs of life without James with 219 yards rushing on 52 carries against a stout Oregon defense last week. Paul Perkins, a freshman, had a season-high 93 yards on 22 carries. If Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker can rush for 192 yards against Colorado, expect UCLA’s Brett Hundley to be equally effective mixing the run with the pass.

Outcome: UCLA by 21.

Reason: The Bruins will win in workmanlike fashion with caution with their large number of injured players in the process. A couple of their offensive linemen, James and talented linebacker Eric Kendricks (bruised ribs and back) practiced this week but not at full speed. UCLA coach Jim Mora would be wise to save some of the injured for later contests against Arizona next week, Washington, ASU and USC.

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

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