After a much-needed bye, the 3-5 Washington Huskies are headed to Cali to face UCLA.
Both the Bruins and the Huskies badly need wins this week to try to save their seasons. A 3-0 start for UCLA quickly turned into 3-5, and they are yet to win a Pac-10 game this year.
It seems that Washington has a bit more to lose this weekend. The luster of knocking off USC has worn off completely, and if Steve Sarkisian's Dawgs want a chance to play in a bowl game this year, a victory at UCLA is vital.
Washington quarterback Jake Locker will play on Saturday despite his thigh bruise, which he suffered against the loss to Oregon.
The fact of the matter is, without Locker starting, Washington won't stand a chance this weekend. Even if not at 100 percent, look for Locker to be (as he usually is) a gigantic factor in this game.
Locker leads the Pac-10 in total offense, and UCLA's defense isn't great. When Locker gets protection and is able to get comfortable in the pocket, he's been really efficient almost all season.
Back on Oct. 24, Oregon exposed pretty much every possible weakness that Washington could have. The defense, especially the secondary, got embarrassed, while the offense surrendered the ball in the red zone numerous times.
Let's be real—UCLA isn't Oregon.
UCLA is a perfect opponent for a reeling Husky team to face. It could be a bounce-back game for Washington. Yet at the same time, UCLA probably has the same idea.
The Huskies haven't won at the Rose Bowl in a decade, and the UCLA defense could expose Locker's injury by applying additional pressure up front.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince hasn't had a terrible year, and he's only a freshman. Last week in a loss to Oregon State, Prince threw for over 300 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks.
I imagine this game is going to be close, similar to the majority of the Huskies' games this year. Whether it will end like Arizona or Arizona State is up in the air. To win this game without a last-second improbability, Locker will need to take over and get some help from the defense.
A win at UCLA would get Washington's bowl hopes back up and snap an ugly losing streak.