The 2012 Holiday Bowl picks are set to go here at Cappers Info, and we are ready to make our free bowl picks for all of the games on the schedule. Check out the Baylor vs. UCLA picks and predictions for what should be a remarkable game.
Holiday Bowl Picks: Baylor Bears vs. UCLA Bruins
Date: Thursday, December 27th, 9:45 ET
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Holiday Bowl Betting Odds: UCLA -3
Baylor vs. UCLA Live TV Coverage: ESPN
All of the betting action over the course of the last few weeks has come on the Bruins, and that is definitely something notable for a team that was once lined at +1.5 in this game and has flipped all the way to -3. There is no doubt that both of these teams are going to get some points on the board in a hurry, but we do have a bit of a concern as to whether the Bears are going to have success against a somewhat underrated UCLA defense. This unit did hold the Arizona Wildcats down to just 10 points and the Utah Utes to 14. The USC Trojans – albeit in a driving rainstorm – only scored 28, while the Stanford Cardinal in two games tallied a somewhat modest 62 total points.
Baylor has some major problems on the defensive side of the ball as well. This club allowed 56 to the Texas Longhorns, 49 to the TCU Horned Frogs, 42 to the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks, and 70 to the West Virginia Mountaineers, and that isn’t even the start of their issues. The Bears rank second to last in the nation in total defense at 513.9 yards per game and 117th out of 124 team in scoring at 38.2 points per game allowed. Granted, we are fully aware that this offense behind QB Nick Florence is averaging 578.8 yards and 44.1 points per game, ranking first and fifth respectively nationally. That being said, this is still going to be an uphill climb against a team that certainly is one of the better teams in the bowl season this year not in the BCS.
The Bruins have done a heck of a lot to improve over the course of the last two years. Head Coach Jim Mora Jr. came to LA and sat down both of his veteran quarterbacks in favor of freshman QB Brett Hundley, and the results have been outstanding. Now, instead of being an offense that really only went as far as RB Johnathan Franklin carried it, the team has some dynamic to it, and Hundley can get the job done both with his arm and his legs. Franklin though, did rush for 1,701 yards this year and has the ability to rumble for over 200 on this defense given the opportunity. We think that he will do just that in what amounts to be a victory for the two-time Pac-12 South champs on Thursday night.
Baylor vs. UCLA Pick: UCLA Bruins -3
Holiday Bowl Score Prediction: UCLA 49 – Baylor 31