College Football Pick: UCLA Bruins Odds to win the National Championship
- Updated: June 6, 2014
With the USC Trojans fading and their decade long domination coming to an end, there is an opening for another team to rise to the top and come out of the Pac 12 with a shot at the title. Many experts this year believe that team is the UCLA Bruins.
This year’s team looks better than ever and they have a very good returning core led by their quarterback. Brett Hundley ranked seventh nationally last year in the adjusted total QBR metric (84.8), which gauges a quarterback’s productivity relative to schedule strength. The Bruins do lose their top wide receiver (Shaquelle Evans), but they return five of their top six pass-catchers. Hundley posted an 81.4 or higher raw total QBR mark to each of these receivers in 2013, and since all five were underclassmen, there looks to be a very good chance this group could get even better with additional experience. With plenty of targets to throw at, many believe that Hundley also has a chance to walk away with some hardware at the end of the season. The odds for Hundley to win the Heisman Trophy are currently at (+1300) at Bet Online, one of the preferred and top rated sportsbooks that are listed at Bangthebook.com
They also have different college football futures on the Bruins. For example, the Bruins are (+1500) to win the National Championship this season. The offense will give the Bruins a realistic shot of winning it all.
The running game will also explode this season. UCLA racked up 180 or more rushing yards in nine games in 2013, tying for the 12th most among teams from BCS-caliber conferences. The Bruins also had 89 rushes of 10 or more yards, a total that tied for 18th nationally, and they lose only 10 of those explosive carries to graduation. A wild card here could be RB Craig Lee, a former four-star recruit who redshirted last year. The offensive line returns four of five starters and adds graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche from Miami (Fla.). The Bruins will open the field with the passing game and that should make the running game very dangerous. The only question mark will be on defense.
The defense has had issues stopping the run. UCLA boasts eight returning starters on defense, tied for the most in the conference, but that might not be a positive when it comes to stopping the run. UCLA ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing plays that end with 0 or negative yards (20.9 percent), ninth in percentage of rushing plays gaining 5 or more yards (39.5 percent) and eighth in rush plays allowed that gained 10 or more yards (69). If they happen to face a team like the Alabama Crimson Tide in the championship game they could get out muscled.
A better bet may be taking this prop offered at Bet Online. Will the Bruins make the 4 team playoffs? If you think they will it will, than the payout is at (+275). The sky is the limit for this team and they have a very good chance of making some serious noise in the Pac 12 and exploding on the National Championship stage.