Hold my beer... watch this...
But that's just just the stuff of dreams, for now. Reality is the UCLA Bruins, who come to town for a marquee Thursday night affair to kick the month of November off. No time for a letup now, this is a game the Buffs better win.
Hype Music for the Week: "Tired Bones" by the Mad Caddies
Yooooooo, is this some hot fire. From the SoCal ska punk specialists, 'Tired Bones' is one of my favorite songs. Fast, loud, and with a trombonist that delightfully sounds like he's strangling a cat, I can't help but wonder why this has never made its way to a basketball band track... but I digress. Enjoy!
Kick-off from a Blacked Out Folsom Field is set for 7pm this evening. I hope you remembered to take tomorrow off from work, 'cause it's going to get weird tonight. No worries on the weather front: clear and cool, but otherwise perfectly fine for the first week of November. For those too soft to head up to Boulder, coverage can be found on Fox Sports 1, with the radio call on 850 KOA.
Click below for the teaser...
As bad as things had been for Colorado in the Pac-12 era prior to this season, the one 'good' team they could always seem to hang with, if never beat, was UCLA. After a first year ass-whupping (45-6), the Buffs have routinely gotten closer and closer to their divisional rival. In 2012 it was 42-14, the year after 45-23; getting warmer. Then, a near-breakthrough 40-37 loss in double overtime on 2014's homecoming weekend. CU had caught the well-regarded Bruins napping, and almost clipped them. Finally, last year, in a game they dominated in almost every measurable way, including a 41-19 advantage in time of possession, Colorado dropped a 35-31 decision in regulation. The realities of the losses aside, you can't help but notice the upward trend, and the aesthetic feel of a series that the Buffs have had the better of in recent seasons. And that's all with Sefo Liufau playing under his capabilities, and before #TheRise was fully fleshed out. Now, with the Buffs 'for real,' they have to be in a position to finally get over the hump against the Bruins, right?
CU has been close to UCLA in recent years. From: the BDC.
Through it all, though, they've at least been close, with their five losses decided by an average of just 6.4 points. While the record may scream dumpster-fire, they aren't nearly as far off as that stark metric would indicate. A few bounces here or there, and they're over .500, possibly pushing USC and Utah behind the Buffs. That's why the probable loss of star quarterback Josh Rosen (a pre-season Heisman dark horse) for the remainder of the season is such a crippling blow. In a year of near misses in Westwood, to have that talent on the sideline the rest of the way only amplifies the grit it has taken to keep the team within a shout of victory the last few weeks.
|With Rosen knocked out, the Bruins are behind the eight ball to make a bowl. From 247Sports|
Fafaul's imperative to step in and put up huge passing numbers is rooted in the absolutely anemic UCLA run game. Of the 128 FBS programs this country has to offer, they're dead last in rushing, notching just over 85 yards per game. In conference play, it has only gotten worse, as the team has slipped under 60 yards per game against Pac-12 opponents. That is a train wreck of a stat. Hell, against ASU, after sacks were factored in, UCLA's total rushing yardage was negative one. Yo. It's to the point that they've stopped calling for runs altogether; against Utah, they passed on all but 16 of their 87 offensive snaps. The issue isn't talent - starter Bolu Olorunfunmi and backup Soso Jamabo are legit players - it's more-or-less scheme and coaching. No team wants to be that unbalanced in their offense, though, so look for them to at least try to get something going on the ground this evening. Still, I'd be shocked if they could improve too much on their 2.8 yards per carry against the CU front-seven.
|Olorunfunmi and UCLA really struggle to run the ball. From: Scout|
So, with all that in mind, let's look at the lines...
My 2016 record: 6-2. Against the spread: 4-3. Optimistic/pessimistic: CU -2.8 pts/gm.
Line as of Tuesday @ 8pm - CU -12, O/U 57.5
Colorado continues to dominate the spread, a perfect 8-0 on the year. As I said before the Stanford game, I'm done betting against them, so I don't bat an eye at any numbers Vegas wants to throw out there. It opened -9 for CU, before ballooning northwards once word of Rosen's shutdown leaked. Still, I like the Buffs to cover, once again, even at this inflated price.
The Bruins can't run the ball, and, as CU defensive lineman Jordan Carrell said this week, if all they can do is pass, into that fearsome Buffaloes defensive backfield, then they don't have a chance. My first instinct is to say something similar to the ASU result, but I'll give the good pass defense of the Bruins a little credence. Not that much, mind you. Buffs win walking away.
CU 31 - UCLA 17
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE BRUINS!