Baylor and UCLA matchup in the Holiday Bowl this season. The Big 12-Pac 12 pairing is always one that turns out a great game.
Unlike other mid-tier bowls, the Holiday Bowl has a history dating all the way back to 1978 and includes games that feature players like Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Terrell Suggs and Marshawn Lynch. This year will be no different.
The spot was up in the air all day for Baylor and UCLA. Originally, this game was expected to be a Texas Tech and Oregon State matchup. Once the Alamo Bowl took Oregon State and Northern Illinois earned a BCS bowl berth, the Big 12 slots forced Baylor into this game over Oklahoma State or Texas Tech.
When and Where
9:45 PM on December 27, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California
TV, Radio and Live Streaming
Streaming: WatchESPN and ESPN3.com
Radio: ESPN Radio
UCLA played a depressing pair of games the past two weeks losing in a home-and-home series to the Stanford Cardinal. They lost their shot at the Pac-12 Championship in the process. In order to gain some momentum into the next season, a Holiday Bowl win would be great for coach Jim Mora and the Bruins.
Baylor is coming off a season where they didn't turn in their absolute best performance. They were 7-5, but lost three of those games by a touchdown or less. They did show that there is a ton of potential there and a win for Baylor would be a way to show that they can still take on anyone. However, will their defense show up?
QB Brett Hundley FR, 6'3" 223 pounds
RB Johnathan Franklin SR, 5'11" 195 pounds
FB David Allen RS SR, 6'2" 225 pounds
WR Jerry Johnson SR, 6'3" 211 pounds
WR Shaquelle Evans JR, 6'1" 201 pounds
WR Devin Fuller FR, 6'0" 195 pounds
TE Joseph Fauria SR, 6'7" 255 pounds
LT Torian White FR, 6'5" 285 pounds
LG Xavi Su'a-Filo SO, 6'4" 295 pounds
C Jake Brendel FR, 6'4" 295 pounds
RG Jeff Baca SR, 6'3" 295 pounds
RT Simon Goines FR, 6'7" 324 pounds
DE Datone Jones SR, 6'4" 275 pounds
NT Deali' Epenesa JR, 6'1" 310 pounds
DE Cassius Marsh JR, 6'3" 275 pounds
LB Jordan Zumwalt JR, 6'3" 235 pounds
LB Eric Kendricks SO, 6'0" 230 pounds
LB Anthony Barr JR, 6'4" 235 pounds
LB Keenan Graham JR, 6'2" 247 pounds
CB Sheldon Price SR, 6'2" 180 pounds
CB Aaron Hester SR, 6'1" 207 pounds
S Andrew Abbott SR, 5'8" 180 pounds
S Tevin McDonald SO, 5'11" 185 pounds
K Ka'imi Fairbairn FR, 6'0" 171 pounds
P Jeff Locke SR, 6'0" 207 pounds
KOS Jeff Locke SR, 6'0" 207 pounds
QB Nick Florence SR, 6'1" 205 pounds
RB Lache Seastrunk SO, 5'10" 205 pounds
WR Terrance Williams SR, 6'2" 205 pounds
WR Lanear Sampson SR, 5'11" 205 pounds
WR Tevin Reese JR, 5'10" 165 pounds
TE Jordan Najvar JR, 6'6" 260 pounds
LT Spencer Drango FR, 6'6" 310 pounds
LG Cyril Richardson JR, 6'5" 335 pounds
C Ivory Wade SR, 6'4" 310 pounds
RG Cameron Kaufhold SR, 6'4" 310 pounds
RT Troy Baker SO, 6'6" 300 pounds
DE Chris McAllister JR, 6'2" 255 pounds
NT Nick Johnson SR, 6'2" 295 pounds
DT Gary Mason Jr. SR, 6'4" 265 pounds
DE Terrance Lloyd JR, 6'3" 235 pounds
WLB Eddie Lackey JR, 6'0" 220 pounds
MLB Bryce Hager SO, 6'1" 235 pounds
CB Joe Williams JR, 5'9" 190 pounds
CB Chance Casey SR, 5'11" 185 pounds
CB Ahmad Dixon JR, 6'0" 210 pounds
S Mike Hicks SR, 5'11" 200 pounds
S Sam Holl JR, 6'1" 200 pounds
K Aaron Jones JR, 6'3" 190 pounds
P Spencer Roth SO, 6'4" 225 pounds
KOS Aaron Jones JR, 6'3" 190 pounds
Running Back Johnathan Franklin
Johnathan Franklin is a back who could surprise people in the draft this year. He's been highly productive and has an excellent size and speed combination. It will be good to see how he handles the poor run defense that Baylor has in what could be a blowout.
Franklin has rushed for 1700 yards on 268 carries for 13 touchdowns and also has 32 catches for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. His combined 300 touches for 2019 yards and 15 touchdowns makes him a player that has to be seen.
Wide Receiver Terrance Williams
As good as Kendall Wright was for Baylor in 2011, Terrance Williams has been that much better this season. He is a huge reason as to why Nick Florence has been able to throw for over 4000 yards, and the passing offense has 32 touchdowns.
The 6'2" 205 pound senior from Dallas has 1764 yards on 95 catches for 12 touchdowns. His ability to find open holes in zone defenses and blow the top off of defenses is something that makes him explosive. And who doesn't want to see someone with Terrell Owens level ability?
Baylor's Passing Offense versus UCLA's Passing Defense
Baylor is one of the rare teams that uses its passing game to open up the run. After looking at their ridiculously efficient offense, more teams should look into whatever they are doing scheme wise. They score a ton of points because their passing offense alone can throw for 4200 yards in just 12 games.
When a passing offense is averaging over 350 yards a game, they have to be stopped. UCLA has allowed just 3320 yards this season through the air. UCLA coach Jim Mora is a former defensive backs coach so he will definitely have to use his expertise in developing a scheme to stop Baylor. Otherwise, it will be a long, long day for UCLA.
UCLA's Rushing Offense versus Bayor's Run Defense
UCLA's rushing offense has been amazing this year gaining 2,638 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns. It's one of the best pro-style rushing offenses in the FBS. They rely heavily on star back Johnathan Franklin and have rode his talents to a 4.6 yard per carry average.
Baylor allows a 4.7 yards per carry average and will need to stuff the run against UCLA or they won't be able to get their offense on the field. They will have to run some of the same gameplans they ran against Collin Klein as they were good gap control defenses, and that's the best way to stuff the run game of UCLA.
Plays amazing defense. The Bruins will have to control the explosive offense that Baylor has. It's tough because Baylor has just under 7,000 yards of total offense and has scored 65 touchdowns this season. They have to see if they can keep Baylor as close to the 25.9 points they allow per game.
One way to make sure that the defense doesn't allow as many points is to run the ball and grind clock.They average 4.6 yards per carry this season. Using a combination of quarterback Brett Hundley and star tailback Johnathan Franklin to grind down the defense seems like the best plan of action.
If they can control the clock and play top notch defense, it should make it much easier for the Bruins to control the momentum and win. Otherwise, this could be a shootout or even a blow out in favor of Baylor.
Call me Captain Obvious here, but it scores a ton of points. Baylor's defense is pretty terrible with a scoring defense ranked 117th in DI-FBS. So they have to take their fifth ranked scoring offense averaging 44.1 points per game and put as many points as they can on the board.
Calling Baylor's passing offense "explosive" would be accurate as they have a 14.9 yards per completion average. The over 4,200 yards of passing offense would be acceptable if Baylor was an NFL team, and three receivers have over 600 yards to lead the attack.
They have to sling it around to their receivers like they have been all season. This has all the makings of a potential shootout and if it turns that way, Baylor will win.
UCLA and Baylor have all the makings of a game that will be a shootout. The pair of teams score a ton of points and don't play amazing defense. It will be tough to see this one not going over 80 points total.
UCLA should be able to get a ton of points on the weak Baylor defense. However, it isn't as efficient on offense, and the constant back-and-forth scoring that Baylor will create will tire out their offense.
Baylor's best defense is their offense and this one has the potential to break 120 points like the Baylor matchup with West Virginia did earlier this season.
Prediction: UCLA Bruins 38, Baylor Bears 45
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.