Week 11 - UCLA at Arizona

Posted Nov 7, 2013

Week 11 Pac-12 Fearless Prediction & Preview - UCLA at Arizona

UCLA (6-2) at Arizona (6-2) Nov. 9, 10:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Four teams still remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 South. Two of those teams are hooking up late on Saturday in the desert.

Arizona and UCLA have been travelling in opposite directions, yet they've strangely arrived in the same place, 6-2 with an eye on an improbable Rose Bowl run. The Wildcats have won three straight, though none of those victims is currently above the .500 mark. In fact, they're 1-15 combined in Pac-12 play. Still, Arizona is just happy to be where it's at right now, especially after getting outclassed by Washington and USC in back-to-back games earlier in the year.

The Bruins proved unworthy of being called a league favorite following consecutive losses to Stanford and Oregon, but a third straight division crown is there for the taking. The goal now is to recapture the early-season form that led to a 5-0 start and a spot in the top 10. UCLA hasn't lost a game to a fellow Pac-12 South member since the end of 2011.

Why UCLA Might Win: Arizona is more vulnerable on defense than the numbers indicate. The ‘Cats are 37th nationally, but that figure has largely been built on the backs of middling competition. They'll have their hands full with Brett Hundley, the most dangerous quarterback they've faced this season. Hundley will hurt Arizona with his legs and his arm, finding Shaq Evans, Devin Fuller and Jordan Payton open in the secondary. UCLA is much tougher on defense, with LB Anthony Barr spearheading a unit that's 25th nationally yards per play allowed.

Why Arizona Might Win: With all due respect to Hundley, the Wildcats might boast the best all-around offensive playmaker in this game. RB Ka'Deem Carey has rushed for 1,000 yards in seven games, and he's yet to be held below 119 yards by an opponent. He's a workhorse who is now getting more support from his quarterback. B.J. Denker has turned the corner since bottoming out in the Sept. 28 Washington loss, accounting for 12 touchdowns and just one pick over the last four games. Arizona now has the one-two punch to keep pace in a high-scoring game.

Who To Watch Out For: The Bruins need to see the Jordon James who took the backfield by storm in September. He returned last week from a severely sprained ankle, but only carried the ball six times for eight yards.

- The strength of the Arizona D is the back eight, which has been playing fast and furious for coordinator Jeff Casteel. Rookie LB Scooby Wright has been a revelation in his debut, and Spur Tra'Mayne Bondurant does a little bit of everything. The ‘Cats aren't big, but they cover ground in a hurry.

- Barr justifiably gets a lot of attention, but fellow linebacker Eric Kendricks is having another great season with a team-high 65 tackles. He'll be in charge of monitoring Carey's every move this weekend, keeping the All-American candidate from getting beyond the second level.

What Will Happen: Arizona has regrouped nicely, but it's done so against the softest part of the Pac-12 schedule. UCLA, on the other hand, is knotted in the standings with the Wildcats largely because it played Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks. The Bruins are not only better, but they're tougher on the defensive side of the ball. While both teams will land shots on offense, UCLA will get better play from behind center to nab a key win in Tucson.

Prediction: UCLA 34 … Arizona 28
Line: UCLA -2 o/u: 56.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 3.5
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