BYU-UCLA Highlights Another Exciting Weekend of Football

RBCCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2008

Unfortunately, I have to rely on the BYU game this week to keep me entertained because it's the only one that looks to have the potential of being good.

No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners at Washington Huskies

University of Washington president Mark Emmert said that UW fans shouldn’t just assume the Huskies will lose to the Sooners Saturday.  Well, I’m glad someone in Husky Nation is confident, because I sure am not.

The Huskies have done very well the last few years at keeping games close into the second half, but if they are able to continue that trend this Saturday, it will truly be impressive.  It’s hard to see how anyone could assume anything other than the Huskies getting completely flattened this weekend.

UW’s offense did fairly well against BYU with four touchdowns, and there are some who wonder how good Oklahoma’s defense is after the Sooners allowed 326 total yards last week against Cincinnati—including two second-quarter touchdowns.

As tough as Washington sophomore quarterback Jake Locker is to bring down, it’s not hard to imagine the Huskies having some offensive success Saturday.

The difference will be Oklahoma’s offense when it is on the field.  If UW fans thought Max Hall to Harvey Unga and Dennis Pitta was hard to contain, how hard is it going to be to slow down Sooners QB Sam Bradford?  In his first two games, Bradford has completed 76.7 percent (46-of-60) of his passes for 578 yards and seven touchdowns.

Helping Bradford is the dual rushing threat of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown.  So far, Murray has carried the ball 30 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown has carried the ball 29 times for 134 yards and four touchdowns.

The Huskies’ defense was exposed badly in Eugene, and even more so last week against BYU.  I look for this to be just another game where having Locker just isn’t enough.

Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Washington 24

UCLA Bruins at No. 18 BYU Cougars

Before the season started, I thought this had the potential to be BYU’s toughest game of the year.  After Bruins QB Ben Olson was injured, however, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so hard after all.  Now I’m taking my original stance again.

Sometimes in college football, we as fans have this nasty and annoying habit of taking the rankings for more than they're worth.  When people look and see BYU ranked No. 18 while UCLA is unranked, they say, “Well, BYU should win.”  Not so fast.

Last year when BYU went to Pasadena to face the Bruins, UCLA was ranked No. 13, while BYU was unranked.  With just 13 yards separating the Cougars from the lead, Hall fumbled to all but end the game.

Rankings can be extremely overrated, and anyone who thinks that just because the Bruins are using their third-string quarterback BYU should win is just...plain...wrong.  This quarterback defeated then No. 18-ranked Tennessee despite FOUR first-half interceptions.  Don’t expect so many picks from the youngster this week.

Maybe it’s just because I know UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel’s ability to get his team prepared and ready, no matter who the opponent.  I saw him win some games at UW that I don’t think Tyrone Willingham could have pulled out to save his job.  The guy is as good a coach as he was a football player.

This is a guy who took the UW franchise from mediocre to Rose Bowl champions.  Since he left, the UW football program has been a joke.

I haven’t even mentioned offensive coordinator Norm Chow and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker.  This coaching staff is nothing short of amazing.

This is BYU’s chance to once again show its legitimacy.  With Kirk Herbstreit and many others in the media picking UCLA, the Cougars have no choice but to win this game.  The Bruins’ defense will be tough, but I think the Cougars can manage just enough to hold them off.

Prediction: BYU 24, UCLA 16

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Predicting how the Seahawks offense will perform without its top three wide receivers is nothing short of difficult.  Thank goodness the Seahawks got the 49ers this week.

With 49ers QB Alex Smith out for the season with yet another injury, San Francisco will rely on J.T. O’Sullivan.  O’Sullivan was at the helm last week against Arizona, but lost 23-13 despite a semi-respectable performance.

Against the Cardinals, O’Sullivan went 14-for-20 for 195 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.  It wasn’t a horrible performance by any means, but it also wasn’t amazing.

The Seahawks defense shut out the 49ers at home last season and overall just plays better at Qwest Field.

Because the 49ers have Frank Gore, they’re always going to be a threat to run.  However, if the Seahawks' gameplan is to shut down Gore, which I think it will be, I don’t see O’Sullivan as being the type of guy who will be able to carry his team to victory in a hostile environment.

As I stated above, the Seahawks offense is going to suffer without its three leading receivers.  But it should still be enough.

Seattle 23, 49ers 9

Other predictions

NCAA Top 25

No. 1 USC over No. 5 Ohio State 37-17
No. 2 Georgia over South Carolina 34-13
No. 6 Missouri over Nevada 42-20
No. 7 LSU over N. Texas 51-6
No. 8 Texas over Arkansas 33-17
No. 9 Auburn over Miss. St.38-14
No. 10 Wisconsin over No. 21 Fresno St. 40-27
No. 11 Alabama over Western Kentucky 45-9
No. 12 Texas Tech over SMU 47-17
No. 13 Kansas over No. 19 South Florida 24-21
No. 14 East Carolina over Tulane 34-10
No. 15 Arizona State over UNLV 45-14
No. 16 Oregon over Purdue 38-17
No. 17 Penn State over Syracuse 46-6
No. 22 Utah over Utah State 54-7
No. 23 California over Maryland 24-14
No. 24 Illinois over Louisiana-Lafayette 36-13


Green Bay over Detroit 23-17
Kansas City over Oakland 24-10
NY Giants over St. Louis 31-14
Indianapolis over Minnesota 28-21
Cincinnati over Tennessee 16-14
New Orleans over Washington 27-24
Carolina over Chicago 24-17
Jacksonville over Buffalo 20-13
Tampa Bay over Atlanta 23-14
NY Jets over New England 21-16
Arizona over Miami 30-10
Denver over San Diego 27-17
Pittsburgh over Cleveland 27-23
Dallas over Philadelphia 23-20
Houston over Baltimore 31-13


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