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Free Pick: LSU at UCLA 9/4/21
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: LSU at UCLA 9/4/21

UCLA was very impressive in their opener last Saturday and this has made this game even more attractive than it already was. Another interesting to factor is how much will Hurricane Ida affect the preparation of the LSU team who had to leave Baton Rouge and relocate to Houston. Let’s get our analysis going on this one.

Quarterback: We can get somewhat of a read on UCLA because they have played a game. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was just average in the opener against Hawaii but he has a decent track record from the past. The Tigers had three quarterbacks vying for the starting position in the spring. Max Johnson will get the nod Saturday in LA. He threw for 1069 yards last year for 11 touchdowns and has tons of potential. Advantage: UCLA

Running Backs: LSU is led by Tyrion Davis-Price who rushed for 446 yards last season. The Bruins were led by Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown who combined for 186 yards rushing last week. Advantage: UCLA

Receivers: None of the receivers stood out last week for the Bruins as they only threw 22 passes completing 12. They are led by Kyle Phillips and Greg Dulcich. LSU has a premier wideout Kayshon Boutte and he is being relied on for a big-time season. Advantage: LSU

Offensive Line: All five starters return upfront for the Tigers and should be much better. UCLA rushed for 244 yards last week and is much improved. But, that was against Hawaii and this week is going to be much different. Advantage: LSU

Defensive Line: Upfront, UCLA played well last week but no one stood out. Meanwhile, LSU returns all 4 linemen from a year ago and have vowed to be much better on defense from 2020. Advantage: LSU

Linebackers: The Tigers return leading tackler Damone Clark back at linebacker and have the top JUCO inside linebacker from a year ago in Navonteque Strong. Mitchell Agenda, Carl Jones Jr., and Kain Medrano combined for 11 tackles last Saturday for the Bruins. Advantage: Neither

Secondary: The UCLA secondary controlled everything in Week 1 and played very well against Hawaii combining for 29 tackles and 2 interceptions. LSU returns one of college football’s best in Derek Stingley who is a 2-time All-American and he will be joined by Eli Ricks who has a team-high four interceptions in 2020. Advantage: LSU

Coaching: Chip Kelly enjoyed great success at Oregon but hasn’t fared as well at UCLA as he is now 11-21 with the Bruins. This is year 4 and he needs to show signs of improvement. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron fired 3 coaches from his staff in 2020 and added two others, so there were obviously problems within in Baton Rouge. I’m not sold on him at all but he can recruit as well as anyone. Advantage: UCLA

On paper and with the naked eye, LSU is far surperior in talent and athleticism. But they are only 3 point favorites in their first trip to the Rose Bowl. There are some factors that Vegas is looking at (the hurricane distractions, uncertainty at QB for LSU, etc.) that has this line at what it is. Let’s put it this way. If LSU can’t win by more than three they might be in for a long season in the SEC.

Our Pick: LSU +3 Feeling pretty solid and the green flag for go is up with confidence level at 7out of 10

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