Washington State is worth betting against in this spread range at every reasonable opportunity. The Cougars aren’t just bad – this is the worst BCS conference program in the country right now, by a fairly wide margin. Duke is contending for a bowl bid, Baylor just won outright at Missouri and Vandy went to a bowl last year. Heck, Syracuse or Louisville would be favored by a touchdown or more against Paul Wulff’s hapless squad on a neutral field.
Last year, Wassou was outscored by an average of 43-12, and outgained by more than 200 yards per game. This year, the Cougars might be even worse, particularly on the defensive side of the football. The Cougars defense has allowed 40+ in four of their last five games. The only gave they didn’t allow 40+ was entirely due to turnovers – six of them to be exact – and the Cougars still lost the game at home by a couple of touchdowns.
It’s surely worth noting that in every one of those blowout losses, the damage was done by halftime. Had the Cougars opponents not let off on the gas pedal, every one of those games could have been a 60 point loss for Washington State. It’s also worth noting that since the defense forced six turnovers against Arizona State, they’ve managed to force only two turnovers in the last three weeks combined.
UCLA is not going to lay off the gas pedal here. The Bruins are still clinging to bowl hopes, needing two more victories to become bowl eligible. The Bruins finally got off the schnied last week, beating Washington despite a five turnover performance from their offense. A banged up UCLA team with no quarterback, no offensive line and no skill position weapons still beat Wassou by 25 last year. This time around, they’ll have a healthy Kevin Prince throwing downfield, and a dramatically improved OL and receiving corps compared to last year. Washington State at the current number (+17) against PAC-10 foes over the last two years? How does 2-13 sound? (#155) 2* Take UCLA.