Meanwhile, the Bruins come in hot off a ridiculous win over Washington State in which they erased a 32-point deficit.
Arizona opened as a nine-point favorite, but now sits as six-point favorites, with the over/under set at 71.5, according to VegasInsider.com.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. MST on ESPN. Here are some things to watch for, and here is how our staff thinks the game will shake out. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 41-27
There is obviously a lot of money going to the Bruins and last Saturday’s visit to Pullman might very well be the reason.
For anyone who missed it, UCLA was trailing 49-17 in the third quarter and came back to win 67-63. It was indeed an amazing come back which very well could have put this offense back on track of the Chip Kelly standard.
I don’t believe that to be the case, though. Way too many fluky scores had to happen in order for UCLA to steal that game including a 94-yard catch and run from Demetric Felton and a 69-yard punt return.
Don’t forget about the 100-yard kickoff return by Demetric Felton that happened before the comeback began. Also, the Bruins finished with a +5 turnover margin.
The point is I’m not going to put too much stock into the notion that the WSU game turned the corner for UCLA. They still have an average defense (at best) and Arizona has proven to have an above-average offense. I trust UA, as home favorites, will take of care business in this one.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 37-30
If I was making this prediction a week ago, or even midway through the third quarter of UCLA’s last game, the margin of victory would be a lot greater. That’s because the Bruins looked absolutely horrible for the first 3-plus games before suddenly coming alive to shock Washington State on the road.
But was that just a fluke or did UCLA figure something out that it can carry over to this game in Tucson? And how much did that comeback change the way Arizona is approaching the Bruins?
Arizona was feeling pretty good about itself after beating Texas Tech, but a bye followed that and you wonder if the momentum can be carried over? The Wildcats were at their highest point last season heading into their bye, then got curb-stomped at WSU. They won’t let that history repeat itself.
Christian Mortensen — Arizona wins 35-21
While UCLA’s incredible comeback at Washington State certainly makes things more interesting, I still see Arizona beating the Bruins this weekend to start conference play 1-0 and to move to 3-1 on the season.
I’m just not sold on Chip Kelly’s squad and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they fall back to Earth against the UA.
Both teams have shown the ability to put up a lot of points, so for me, defense will once again be the biggest key for the Wildcats.
Marcel Yates’ unit has been able to create turnovers this season—their 10 takeaways are tied for fifth-most in the nation—and I’ll be looking for them to do more of the same to dictate the game at home against a sophomore quarterback.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 42-28
UCLA is coming to Tucson with confidence. I mean how can you not after what they did last weekend?
With that though, I still don’t see them winning this game.
Their defense is....not good. I mean, giving up 63 points in four quarters isn’t good no matter how you polish it. I’m not fully convinced that their offense is back either.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s offense has been extremely effective this season, and I see no reason why that won’t be the case again on Saturday. I’m more interested to see if the defense will be able to carry the momentum they gained from the Texas Tech game through the bye week into this weekend.
If the defense does, married with Arizona’s offense and being at home, Arizona will win this game. And I think they do.
Adam Green — Arizona wins 42-27
Would Arizona have been better off facing a winless UCLA team potentially lacking confidence or one with an excellent win that may not be as desperate?
We’ll find out on Saturday, but while I’m still not sure what to make of the Wildcats, I am confident in saying they are not a bad football team. UCLA, on the other hand, may be, and given that the game is in Tucson I can’t help but think Arizona will take care of business.
As long as the Wildcats don’t turn the ball over multiple times they should have no trouble scoring points, and the defense, while not great, should be able to get enough stops so that the win is more comfortable than stressful.
Gabe Encinas — Arizona wins 34-31
This game could go many ways but I think this is a back-and-forth game that will be decided on the final drive.
I like Arizona’s offense, even if J.J. Taylor is banged up. Marcel Yates just needs to come out and show that the Texas Tech performance wasn’t just a fluke. Dorian Thompson-Robinson could do some damage to Arizona’s defense but aside from that, I feel like Arizona is in a good spot that should lead to a win.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 38-31
It would be classic Arizona football to lose to lowly UCLA after a confidence-boosting win over Texas Tech, but I think the Wildcats avoid disaster and get the job done.
The key will be getting off to a strong start. They need to crush the sense of belief the Bruins got in their comeback win over Washington State. It also would allow Arizona to run the ball and not be forced into passing downs.
I think Arizona’s defense will regress a bit from the win over Tech, but will continue its knack for creating turnovers as DTR is notoriously reckless with the ball.