Prediction: UCLA 24, Oregon State 23
The Bruins’ offense has either been great or awful in 2019 – there hasn’t been much in between.
Their output has leaned more toward the latter, however, averaging 14.8 points per game in all games played outside the city of Pullman, Washington.
Well, I think the breakthrough into mediocrity will come at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
Following its road loss to Arizona on Sept. 28, UCLA football now has a chance to face off against the conference’s worst team. The Beavers have occupied the bottom of the barrel of the Pac-12 for over a decade and this year isn’t too different.
The only problem for the Bruins is that they’re right down there with them this fall.
While both teams own losing records, the Beavers can at least claim they have scored 27-plus points per game in every outing this season. They still lack star power and a formidable defense, but considering the Bruins still haven’t proven to boast a consistent offense, that offense may be enough to keep them in this game.
UCLA is more talented, but that’s usually the case. That didn’t help them last week against Arizona, which was missing both quarterback Khalil Tate and running back J.J. Taylor.
But the Bruins didn’t capitalize, and a lot of people have lost hope in them doing so ever again.
I don’t think it’s a world-breaking feat to beat the Beavers, so this isn’t to say they’ll turn their season around Saturday. But can they pull out a lone win against an inferior opponent at home?
Football beat reporter
Prediction: Oregon State 27, UCLA 17
I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to UCLA football.
Whenever it has a chance to pick up some momentum, it falls flat on its face. Last week’s loss to Arizona felt all too familiar, and this Saturday’s matchup is feeling like a trap game as well.
It will be the first home game since the return of the student body from summer break – which you think would inject some energy into the team, but this weekend’s crowd could very well end up being the smallest in program history.
Oregon State also comes into Saturday’s contest with an offense that hasn’t scored fewer than 27 points in a game this season. Meanwhile, UCLA has only scored more than 17 once.
We also don’t know who will get the start at quarterback for the Bruins since sophomore Dorian Thompson-Robinson is still recovering from an ankle injury in Tucson, Arizona.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Burton’s debut would certainly be something to keep an eye on, but outside of that, this matchup between the consensus bottom-two teams in the Pac-12 doesn’t have much else to offer.
Assistant Sports editor
Prediction: Oregon State 41, UCLA 13
None of those three teams are bad, and even in the losses Oregon State managed to flash their offensive prowess.
And the Bruins haven’t been so hot at defending the pass, giving up over 350 yards per game and 16 touchdowns through the air in five games.
Granted, UCLA’s secondary had to face two prolific passing attacks from Oklahoma and Washington State, but even against worse offenses the defensive backs aren’t passing the eye test. 2018 honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection cornerback Darnay Holmes has been dealing with nagging injuries, and the unit as a whole has been dearly missing the ball-hawking presence graduated safety Adarius Pickett provided last season.
Arts and Entertainment editor
Prediction: UCLA 48, Oregon State 15
I don’t know much about football, but as the arts editor, I can confidently say I know a lot about movies.
The best sports films of our time highlight the inspirational story of the struggling underdog. And UCLA qualifies as an underdog in my book – even if Oregon State is technically a worse team, things haven’t looked too hot for the Bruins lately.
But you always need a few brutal losses to provide a state of emotional distress for fans so they can truly appreciate a monumental win towards the end of the season. As Archie Andrews said in his iconic “Riverdale” monologue, football is characterized by its epic highs and lows.
UCLA fans could also take note from what is perhaps the most iconic football film of our generation: “A Cinderella Story” starring Hilary Duff. As young Duff confesses her feelings to her crush in the middle of the big game, she says “waiting for you is like waiting for rain in this drought: useless and disappointing.”
Some might say waiting for a UCLA win is useless and disappointing too.
But just as the rain came right as Hilary Duff got the boy, so too will UCLA eventually get the win.