Few knew what to expect from UCLA last year, but when the Bruins pulled an upset over Nebraska in Week 2, we should have known head coach Jim Mora Jr. might have something cooking out in Westwood.
During their wonderful first season under Mora, UCLA started 3-0 both SU and ATS. That included a 36-30 win over the Cornhuskers at the Rose Bowl. However, the Bruins faded down the stretch, losing their last three games.
UCLA now offers Big Red a chance at revenge when the teams meet Saturday afternoon in Lincoln.
In the early betting on this Pac-12/Big Ten rematch, the Huskers were favored by five points over the Bruins according to most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The OVER/UNDER was 70, pointing to oddsmaker expectation of another high-scoring battle.
Nebraska has only lost twice as a home favorite since 2009, according to the college football odds database (Northwestern in 2011, Texas in 2010).
UCLA is 1-0 after crushing Nevada 58-20 two weeks ago, piling up 345 rushing yards and covering the spread as three-touchdown favorites. The Bruins then took last week off.
Nebraska is off to a 2-0 start after holding off Wyoming 37-34 then squashing Southern Miss 56-13. The Huskers couldn't cover 31 points against the Cowboys, but took care of business as 28-point favorites over the Golden Eagles.
UCLA went 2-0 ATS last year as dogs on the road. Nebraska went 6-1 ATS last season as favorites at home.
There's an outside chance Saturday's game could be a Rose Bowl preview; Nebraska is lined at odds of about 9-2 to win the Big Ten championship this season, while UCLA is getting around 10-1 to win the Pac-12 title.
In last year's battle between these teams, the Bruins, as five-point home dogs, racked up 653 yards of offense, 344 of those on the ground, on their way to a six-point victory. That game was tied at 27 in the fourth quarter until UCLA sacked Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez in the end zone to take the lead for good.
Bruins RB Johnathan Franklin ran for 217 yards that day, but he plays for the Green Bay Packers now. Fortunately, UCLA still has QB Brett Hundley, who threw for 305 yards and four scores against the Blackshirts last year.
ABC has the bead on Saturday's game from Memorial Stadium, beginning bright and early at noon ET, 9 a.m. Bruins home time.
Prediction: We like the Huskers here, but our computer says 45-30 UCLA
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