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UCLA Bruins 2013 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2013-14 Football Previews — (Pac-12) — Bruins

In 2011, the UCLA Bruins made the Pac-12 championship game because of a formality. The USC Trojans were banned from postseason competition, meaning that UCLA was given the spot without truly earning it.

2013 Preview: UCLA Bruins (Team Link)
Coach: Jim Mora
2012 Record: 9-5 (6-3)
UCLA Gambling Odds from Bovada.lv: 50/1

In 2012, however, the team returned to the big game, and it was well-deserved. First-year head coach Jim Mora led the team to a 9-5 record—a fair improvement following a 6-8 showing the year before—and he inserted a style that led to a strong offensive attack.

The goal for the 2013-14 season is an easy one to identify: continue to improve and win a Pac-12 title. Achieving that goal, however, is going to be more difficult than advertised. This team has star power on both sides of the ball, but it’s also going to attempt to replace a number of key losses from last year’s roster.

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Optimism is welcomed around L.A., but remember that this team lost its final three games last season. There’s still work to be done, and Mora understands that, which is why his team has been extremely active during the offseason.

The offensive attack is going to start where it often does—at the quarterback position. Brett Hundley is coming off of a year that saw him rack up the second-most total yards in the Pac-12, as he is a dual-threat player behind center. He threw for 3,745 yards and 29 touchdowns, and he also ran for 355 yards and nine touchdowns.

The star power isn’t just on offense, though. Outside linebacker Anthony Barr is primed for a huge senior season. In 2012, Barr had 13 sacks in his first year playing defense—he was a converted fullback. He figures to be an early first-round draft pick in 2014, and he has a good chance of competing for Defensive Player of the Year in the conference.

The problem on defense comes in the form of the secondary. The team wasn’t exactly known for having the best secondary in 2012, but now it’s forced to replace all four starters entering 2013. If Barr is as good as we think he can be, this will be less of a problem, as he’ll get to the opposing quarterbacks quickly. But if it turns out he’s already closer to his ceiling than we thought, it’s going to be a tough go-around for that group on that side of the ball. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Like the secondary position, the tailback spot and receiver spots will look to replace starters. In the backfield, there’s a hole left behind where Johnathan Franklin used to take care of business. Following spring camp, we still don’t know who will fill it on a permanent level. The most likely option is Jordan James, a junior who carried the ball 61 times in 2012. At receiver, three of the team’s top four players are gone, but Shaq Evans will likely lead the way in his senior year.

This team is ready to break out so long as Hundley continues to improve, but a difficult Pac-12 schedule won’t make it easy. After facing Nebraska on Sept. 14 (on the road), the team has a game against New Mexico State to warm up before conference play begins. A game at Utah will officially kick things off, but two weeks later is when it gets rough for the Bruins.

On Oct. 19, UCLA travels to Stanford to face the Cardinal on the road. One week later it heads further north to take on the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. After a game against Colorado, the Bruins close out the year with four straight contests against Arizona, Washington, Arizona State (all winnable games) and USC in the season finale.

This year has the potential to be great for Mora and his UCLA squad, but padding the record with the winnable games will be crucial. If it can take down the power houses on its schedule, that’s when things will get interesting and a Pac-12 title will become a possibility with the year winding down.

2013 UCLA Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 vs. Nevada
Sat, Sept. 14 @ Nebraska
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. New Mexico State
Thur, Oct. 3 @ Utah
Sat, Oct. 12 vs. California
Sat, Oct. 19 @ Stanford
Sat, Oct. 26 @ Oregon
Sat, Nov. 2 vs. Colorado
Sat, Nov. 9 @ Arizona
Fri, Nov. 15 vs. Washington
Sat, Nov. 23 vs. Arizona State
Sat, Nov. 30 @ USC

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