Two of the three remaining unbeaten Pac 12 teams square off tonight when the 15th-ranked Washington Huskies head south to take on the UCLA Bruins. Both teams are 4-0 and are still in contention for the conference crown.
Washington has blasted its early season opponents, which has vaulted the Huskies into the Top 25. UCLA is also undefeated and is coming off a convincing win over Colorado, but the Bruins are still trying to earn respect.
The IB team has broken down the game and is ready to make predictions.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: UCLA 30, Washington 27
I have been back and forth on this one all week. Washington has been really, really good so far and I won't be at all surprised if they win this game. Having said that, I am going with the Bruins for a number of reasons.
UCLA has a punishing ground attack that should give Washington some problems. The Huskies have been quite good at slowing down the run so far this season, but UCLA presents a much different schematic and personnel jump and Washington's first four opponents. If I had more confidence in Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback I'd feel a lot better about this pick. He's been steady so far this season, and that's very important for him.
Washington has been fueled by the arrival of quarterback Michael Penix, but the UCLA pass rush is going to give the Indiana transfer some problems. He'll put up his yards, but I predict the Bruins will make enough big stops/turnovers to give its own offense the ability to put the game away.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Washington 35, UCLA 21
I do not know what it is about the Huskies that has been a believer but I do like them in this matchup. Yes I do. It is Michael Penix. Sorry but I am a big fan. He is back to form and is playing quite well and frankly he is fun to watch. I will actually tune into the Pac 12 after dark if Washington is playing just because of him. UCLA has taken a bit of a step back from where I thought they would be under Chip Kelly and I do not see that changing in this game.
SHAUN DAVIS, RECRUITING ANALYST
Prediction: UCLA 37, Washington 28
Chip Kelly might have a team good enough to truly contend for a Pac-12 championship. The Bruins are led by fifth-year senior Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and the dual-threat quarterback has had no such issues this season with 896 passing yards on 74.8% with eight touchdowns against one interception. Zach Charbonnet continues to add balance to the offense with another 100-yard performance last versus Colorado. Michael Penix hasn’t been too shabby himself, and he’ll make some plays as well in this one.
SEAN STIRES, STAFF WRITER
Prediction: Washington 45, UCLA 31
Indiana transfer Michael Penix has the Husky offense leading the nation in passing and the defense is third nationally with 15 sacks. UCLA’s 4-0 against a North Carolina-esque schedule.
RYAN ROBERTS, DIRECTOR OF RECRUITING
Prediction: UCLA 35, Washington 33
The Huskies are riding a ton of momentum. They hit a home run with Michael Penix, who has been a dynamite transfer since coming over from Indiana. They have been creating explosive plays all over the field.
They are opposed by a UCLA team who hasn’t been challenged much so far but boasts a well balanced offense, led by running back Zach Charbonnet. That’s where this game is won, on the ground, with some explosive plays along the way.
The Huskies don’t go down easy but UCLA is able to get arguably their biggest win in the Chip Kelly era.
ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: UCLA 34, Washington 33
The Huskies have been one of the stories of the first month of the season while UCLA's 4-0 start has flown under the radar (probably due to a last-second win over South Alabama). Statistically, this matchup is incredibly close. Washington comes into the matchup with the Pac-12's top-ranked offense and third-ranked defense, while UCLA ranks second in both categories. This just feels like a close UCLA win - it's a weird time slot (Friday night) in a conference that is notorious for cannibalizing itself, and UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is in seemingly his eighth year at the school, finds a way to make a play late and give UCLA the win in the Rose Bowl.
IB STAFF STANDINGS
Bryan - 15-4
Vince - 14-5
Shaun - 13-6
Sean - 13-6
Ryan - 13-6
Andrew - 11-8
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