Gameday Predictions: UCLA vs. California
UCLA redshirt junior quarterback Ethan Garbers (left) and California running back Jaydn Ott (right) are pictured. (Photos by left to right: Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor, Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff. Photo illustration by Mia Tavares/Assistant Design director)
UCLA football (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) will wrap up its regular season against California (5-6, 3-5) at home Saturday night in its final Pac-12 contest. Here are this week’s predictions from Sports editor Joseph Crosby, staff writer Gavin Carlson and assistant Sports editor Benjamin Royer – along with a guest prediction from Quad editor Olivia Simons.
Prediction: UCLA 42, California 10
This week feels like the time to get retrospective.
UCLA versus Cal will be my final trip to the Rose Bowl before I graduate in the spring. So, ahead of my last prediction of the regular season, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at how well I’ve done this year in analyzing Bruin football.
I started the season off strong, much like UCLA did, with three accurate win predictions. Those weren’t hard to anticipate, but hey, better to be right than wrong.
The following week, I thought the Bruins would take down the Utes in Salt Lake City, but that was too tall of a task and I fell to 3-1.
After pegging UCLA to defeat Washington State, I once again thought the Bruins could win on the road against the Beavers. They did not, and my prediction record dropped to 4-2.
Stanford and Arizona were easy calls – the Cardinal are at the bottom of the conference and the Wildcats are near the top. But my faith in Colorado was a misstep, so through nine games I was right six times.
The last two weeks are where things have gone awry.
I clearly underestimated Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham and overestimated USC coach Lincoln Riley, leading to a pair of incorrect predictions and dropping my overall season record to 6-5.
In the interest of staying above .500, I’m betting on a UCLA win. Cal is a respectable team, but it won’t escape the Rose Bowl with a victory.
The Bruin defense is too monstrous to be stopped by a middling offense, and redshirt junior quarterback Ethan Garbers is just good enough to secure an eight-win season for his team and a seven-correct prediction season for me.
Daily Bruin staff
Prediction: UCLA 24, California 14
I have no idea how to feel about this game.
Saturday’s matchup between UCLA and Cal feels even less meaningful than last year’s.
I was in the press box at California Memorial Stadium when the Golden State programs met the Friday after Thanksgiving, and while UCLA was less than a week removed from its heartbreaking loss to USC that knocked it out of Pac-12 conference championship game contention, the Bruins were still ranked No. 18 for that game.
This time around, Cal and its younger sibling are well removed from any sort of conference championship contention, and UCLA isn’t sniffing the top 25.
If you’re not invested in Bruin football, this is a tempting game to skip so you can recover from Thanksgiving leftovers and a few massive rivalry games from earlier in the day.
But as the great Lee Corso says, not so fast.
This game has one huge storyline.
No, I’m not talking about UCLA and Cal disliking each other because of the Bruins’ move to the Big Ten. Nor am I referring to this potentially being the last time these two academic friends and athletic rivals face off in the near future.
I’m talking about Chip Kelly.
Regardless of how you feel about Kelly’s job security after UCLA completely outplayed Lincoln Riley’s USC team last week, it’s safe to say a loss to Cal eliminates any security his status in Westwood may currently have.
Losing this game wouldn’t be as bad as the Arizona State loss, but the combination of both might be enough of a fireable offense for Kelly.
That being said, the Bruins proved last week that they’ll play up for their coach, and I believe they’ll do it again on Saturday.
Chip would be quite thankful for that.
Assistant Sports editor
Prediction: UCLA 65, California 62
Saturday will be the last Pac-12 regular season game ever. And that makes me sad.
So, why not? Let’s send the conference out with a bang. For one last time, Pac-12 After Dark on the biggest stage imaginable.
UCLA’s defense is the best in the conference – the only unit to allow under 300 yards per game among the 12 programs.
But on Saturday, it won’t matter how well the Bruins have defended. The Pac-12 football gods will take control of the game and send Cal into an offensive frenzy going punch for punch with UCLA.
The Bruins’ offense averages the fourth-lowest points per game in the conference. But that won’t matter.
Pac-12 After Dark is in charge of this one.
Garbers, the newly minted king of Los Angeles, will throw for seven passing touchdowns, breaking Drew Olson’s 18-year record to emerge atop the Bruins’ single-game record books.
It will be a chaotic and perfect game of football. That is what the Pac-12 deserves. To go out on a high. To leave us with a memory that will last a lifetime.
I will remember you, the Conference of Champions.
We all will.
Quad editor, Sports senior staff
Prediction: UCLA 89, California 13
I am a fan of Taylor Swift.
I am a fan of sports as well, but I much prefer to make Taylor references than I do references to statistics and trends throughout the season.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine UCLA would beat USC. But after the Daily Trojan defeated the Daily Bruin in the annual Blood Bowl on Friday night, I knew there was nothing better that UCLA football could do to redeem The Bruin than get revenge. Haunted by their loss at the Rose Bowl last year, long story short, the Bruins fearlessly survived the great war against their crosstown rivals Saturday.
Now, moving on to UCLA versus Cal. For a while this season, the Bruins gave us sweet nothing when trying to string together wins against competitive teams and field a consistent quarterback. To be honest, it hits different not seeing former quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson on the field every game with the rotating roster of Bruin signal callers. While we are never, ever getting back together with the now-Cleveland Browns quarterback, everything has changed with Garbers’ consistency last Saturday.
Hopefully, this team won’t call the Bruin faithful to the Rose Bowl again just to break them like a promise for the last home game of the season.
This game will be Senior Day and the last game the Bruins will play at the Rose Bowl while I am an undergraduate at UCLA.
So long live all of the graduating football players and students, we will be remembered.