Chip Kelly’s second year at UCLA begins against a very good Cincinnati Bearcats team that has New Year’s Day aspirations. The Bearcats seems loaded for Bear, or should I say Bruins?
Let’s take a look at an interesting college football opener.
On Sunday, it was announced that sophomore linebacker Bo Calvert was out indefinitely for violating a set of NCAA rules. That’s terrible news with the linebacker corps already depleted as they will also be missing Keisean Lucier-South (academics) and Tyree Thompson (foot), as well. Coach Kelly doesn’t have much left to work with on the defensive side of the ball.
Cincinnati wields a powerful and impactful back in Michael Warren II, who looks to open strongly with good depth behind him. That will make the Bruins’ “D” give a different look. The Bearcats do have questions on the offensive line, which makes this an interesting matchup, but if the Bruins can’t hold Warren under 100 yards this game will be won by the Bearcats.
The outlook is much better on offense for UCLA with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in his second season with the team. If the offensive line holds up, and that’s a big if, the combination of Thompson-Robinson and running back Joshua Kelley could carry the Bruins to a significant improvement over last year’s 3-9 season.
The Bearcats defense was much improved last year and if they can slow down UCLA’s, offense this game will be a mismatch. When you look at the hype surrounding Chip Kelly’s offense you have to ask yourself if the hype is warranted? The offensive line has massive questions and even with some big-time skill players, the lack of an offensive line could be crippling to Kelly’s offense.
Prediction: This is a game where the Bearcats are only favored by 2.5 points and it looks like a safe bet to take the Bearcats at home in this one as the combination of Desmond Ridder throwing the Ball and Michael Warren throwing the ball should be devastating against the Bruins’ defense. The Bruins have the skill position players to make some plays but not consistently against a strong Cincinnati defense.
Cincinnati 34 UCLA 20, take the Bearcats and the give the 2.5 points.
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