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Gameday predictions: UCLA vs. Colorado

Pictured are redshirt sophomore wide receiver J.Michael Sturdivant (left) and redshirt freshman defensive back (right). (Photos by (left to right): Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff, Jake Greenberg-Bell/Daily Bruin staff. Photo illustration by Helen Quach/Design director)

By Felicia Keller, Joseph Crosby, Joseph Jimenez, and Grace Whitaker

Oct. 28, 2023 1:46 a.m.

No. 23 UCLA football (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) will host coach Deion Sanders and Colorado (4-3, 1-3) in its homecoming game at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. Here are this week’s predictions from Sports editor Joseph Crosby, senior staff writer Grace Whitaker and assistant Sports editor Felicia Keller, as well as a guest prediction from Photo editor Joseph Jimenez.

Joseph Crosby
Sports editor
Prediction: UCLA 24, Colorado 28

In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the titular character’s father, Reese Bobby, said something that would resonate with both his son and viewers: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

And in last place nationally, both in total and passing defense, is Colorado.

But then again, UCLA isn’t first in either category, so as Bobby said, it’s last too.

By the Bobby family’s metrics, there will be only one first-place unit taking the field Saturday, and that’s the Bruins’ rushing defense. But that doesn’t matter, since the Buffaloes don’t run the ball all that much anyway.

Thanks to the power of a 2006 Will Ferrell movie and a little bit of mental gymnastics, I can justify why Colorado will win this game and explain away the team’s truly awful defense.

Much like Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr., quarterback Shedeur Sanders and cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter are the shake-and-bake duo leading the Buffaloes. Sanders is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, while Hunter – arguably the most talented player in college football – was a dark-horse Heisman candidate before an injury sidelined him for three weeks.

Under the bright lights of prime-time coverage, they’ll shine – exploiting UCLA’s passing defense and outscoring an offense that shrouds the backfield in uncertainty.

It probably won’t be a pretty game if the Bruins’ road losses and the Buffaloes’ collapse against the Cardinal are anything to go by.

But at the end of the day, coach Deion Sanders and Colorado will leave the Rose Bowl one game closer to bowl eligibility.

Grace Whitaker
Daily Bruin senior staff
Prediction: UCLA 31, Colorado 28

My mom and I gathered together the morning of Sept. 2 to turn on the Colorado-TCU game.

She said it would be a good game and that Colorado had hired a new coach and added a slew of new players. I agreed to watch, but was doubtful of her statement, remembering the 1-11 season the Buffaloes had in 2022 and the College Football Playoff run TCU experienced.

You know what they say: mother knows best.

In one year, Colorado turned itself from an easily beatable adversary to a formidable opponent, taking down the national runner-up in its first game of the season.

But, despite the remarkable turnaround, the program hasn’t arrived at the finished product yet.

Tapering off after the nonconference schedule, Colorado has lost twice in their Pac-12 slate to ranked foes then-No. 10 Oregon and then-No. 8 USC. Then came a loss to Stanford, as the Buffaloes blew a 29-point lead and fell to a team that hadn’t won a Pac-12 game since October 2022.

This showed that the Cinderella team has some major weak spots, and once pressure is forced on those areas, it cracks. At the same time, UCLA has weak spots of their own, with shaky quarterbacks under center, missed field goals left and right and defensive inconsistencies at times. Still, the Bruins’ strengths outweigh their weaknesses to a greater degree than the Buffaloes’ do.

It won’t be an easy game. UCLA won’t cruise to a victory in the same way it did last year against Colorado. But at the end of the night, it’ll still be the Bruins on top.

Felicia Keller
Assistant Sports editor
Prediction: UCLA 37, Colorado 31

It’s homecoming week at UCLA.

Now, I mostly associate homecoming with high school: voting for your peers to be king and queen, gymnasiums with fabric on the walls and spirit week. But of course, there’s also football.

Football was a very different experience at the two high schools I attended. My first high school lost its homecoming game in my sophomore year 42-27. But football was a much bigger deal – with a much better team – at my second high school, where they won the homecoming game 47-7 in my senior year before claiming the Nevada State Championship the following fall.

The Bruins fall somewhere in the Goldilocks range between those two.

There’s some pride in playing in a homecoming game. UCLA will be wearing throwback jerseys, honoring former players from 1954. And they’ll be competing in front of a sold-out crowd of over 70,000. But the Bruins are also a team with a floundering quarterback room, so despite their strong defense, anything could happen on the offensive side.

Either way, the Bruins should at least put on a show and make it interesting for the tens of thousands of fans that will make their way to Pasadena on Saturday.

I’m expecting plenty of wild, iconic moments and anticipating a close game with each team exceeding 30 points.

Joseph Jimenez
Photo editor
Prediction: UCLA 41, Colorado 27

I tried using ChatGPT to write this prediction, but apparently that “wasn’t journalistic” or something like that. Of course, that was sarcasm – I just wanted a silly way to predict this game.

But on a serious note, according to my girlfriend, eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture.

So of course, I clicked a random football score generator eight times and predicted that UCLA would come home with a win. That 14-point difference may seem as colossal as a buffalo, but the Bruins are only skating by with a win. And if you know anything about UCLA, you know that this is pretty on point as the team constantly boasts large achievements but rarely ever satisfies its students.

As I end my journey here at UCLA, in what will be one of my last few games as an undergrad, I can only hope that the Bruins do not disappoint me. I know it will not be the glory days of former quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and former running back Zach Charbonnet, but it will be my first football Saturday of the year, and it’s safe to say I am excited.

I will be in the stands during the game with my girlfriend, whom I convinced to buy a Den Pass for the sole purpose of watching Deion “Prime Time” Sanders together, rooting for the Bruins to bring home a satisfactory win.

But even if they don’t, redshirt junior quarterback Ethan Garbers said it best: “The best thing about football is football.”

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Felicia Keller
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
Joseph Crosby | Sports editor
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
Joseph Jimenez | Assistant Photo editor
Jimenez is currently a senior staffer for Photo. He was previously the 2023-2024 Photo editor, the 2022-2023 assistant Photo editor on the news beat and a Photo contributor during the 2021-2022 year. He is currently a fourth-year sociology student from Compton.
Jimenez is currently a senior staffer for Photo. He was previously the 2023-2024 Photo editor, the 2022-2023 assistant Photo editor on the news beat and a Photo contributor during the 2021-2022 year. He is currently a fourth-year sociology student from Compton.
Grace Whitaker | Sports senior staff
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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