The No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0) will be traveling west to take on the UCLA Bruins (1-0) for one of the biggest Week 2 games on the college football schedule.
Because of the importance of this matchup for both teams and the potential BCS impact, you can bet your bottom dollar that this will be one of the most wagered on contests of the week.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch the game, some advice on betting the teams involved and a prediction on the final score.
Where: The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Nebraska -5.5 (via ScoresandOdds.com)
The Cornhuskers should be able to keep the Bruins at least a full touchdown away on the final scoreboard.
Which team will cover?
Taylor Martinez was an absolute monster against Southern Miss. in Week 1, throwing for 354 yards and five touchdowns.
Nebraska also got a strong performance out of Ameer Abdullah, who saw more snaps once starting RB Rex Burkhead went down with an injury. The sophomore back had 15 carries for 81 yards. Braylon Heard—another sophomore RB—also made a big impact and turned his three touches into 34 yards and a TD.
With or without Burkhead, the Cornhuskers will not miss a beat and continue their fine offensive performance.
A UCLA defense that let the Rice Owls hang around until the fourth quarter simply won’t have the intensity or ability to keep Nebraska out of the end zone and will get embarrassed at home this Saturday.
Over/Under: 60 (via ScoresandOdds.com)
Take the over in this contest.
Both contestants weren’t able to keep subpar opponents from hanging at least 20 points on them in their opening contests, which means this game will turn into a shootout at times.
While Nebraska possesses a veteran D that could make some plays when need be (which is why they are picked to cover the spread), UCLA just doesn’t have the chops to contain Martinez and the rest of the Cornhusker attack.
The Bruins will certainly score their own points, and we could easily see a final score in the 70s or above.
Key Injuries (via CollegeInjuryReport.com)
RB Rex Burkhead—Knee—QST
CB Mohammed Selsay—Ankle—QST
TE Ben Cotton—Ribs—PRB
TE Ian Taubler—Ankle—QST
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
Will Nebraska be in the Top 10 when the BCS Rankings are released?
The Cornhuskers are sitting at No. 16 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the USA Today rankings, and they sorely need a win to continue moving up and keep their national championship dreams alive.
While Nebraska just has to handle to business to move up a spot or two this week, the Bruins—who are only an honorable mention in ESPN’s Power Rankings—have a lot to gain by pulling off an upset of a top team from the Big Ten.
A UCLA win would put this team on the map in 2012 and possibly vault them right into the Top 25 of both polls.
Keys to Nebraska Win
Nebraska needs to keep its offense rolling and tighten up the defensive effort this weekend.
If they can continue airing the ball out with Martinez and get Burkhead back from injury, it should be an easy victory for the Cornhuskers, even if it’s on the road in a sizeable stadium.
Put UNL down for an easy win with 75 percent or more confidence.
Keys to UCLA Win
The Bruins are going to need the home crowd to show up if they want a chance to steal this contest.
They could put themselves on the college football map with a victory against the Huskers by attacking with Johnathan Franklin, the beastly senior RB that went off for 214 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries this past week.
Franklin’s going to need more touches and up his production even more if UCLA wants to make the upset a reality.
Prediction: Nebraska 41, UCLA 24
The Huskers are just too much for the Bruins to handle and that will show on the scoreboard this weekend.
This contest may be close for the first half, but Nebraska will pull away when they come out of the locker room in the second by making adjustments and locking down defensively.