By Niall O’Hara
Having a scan across this weekend’s College football fixtures and the one that pops out is UCLA @ Oklahoma. These are two household names and excellent programs in college football.
The Sooners last year narrowly lost in double overtime to Georgia in the College football playoff semi-final and this year will be looking to go a step further and make it to the playoff final. The Bruins on the other hand, are in transition with New Head Coach Chip Kelly after finishing 6-7 last season and they will be looking to improve on that record.
After a disappointing start to the Chip Kelly era at The Rose Bowl this past weekend against Cincinnati, the Bruins will be looking to cause an upset this weekend when they travel to play The Oklahoma Sooners who have one of the best home records in college football. The biggest issue is that the Bruins didn’t win a single game on the road last season.
Despite last week’s loss, Kazmeir Allen the 3-star recruit freshman got off to a flying start with 5 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, picking up where he left off in high school where he scored 72 touchdowns in his senior year at Tulare Union HS setting a new California state record. With new Head Coach Chip Kelly at the reigns at UCLA it will be very interesting to see the schemes that the former Oregon and Philadelphia Eagles Head coach will come up with to best use the lighting quick running back.
A big problem for UCLA is the fitness of Quarterback Wilton Speight who had to leave last weekend’s game with a back injury and is “day to day” on whether he makes it back for the Oklahoma game, with Speight having missed a season previously with a back problem the coaches might not rush him back.
In stark contrast The Sooners coming off week 1 look like a very strong team who will challenge this season for the playoffs. The number 6 ranked Sooners took on Florida Atlantic and their head coach Lane Kiffin but the Owls failed to test the Sooners in the 63-14 blowout. Perhaps this week UCLA will be able to give Oklahoma a much sterner test.
With Quarterback Kyler Murray looking very good in his season opener with 9/11 pass completions 209 yards and 2 touchdowns and the quality in depth of the running back core lead by Rodney Anderson who altogether ran up 319 yards and 5 touchdowns, they look a very dangerous outfit and if the Sooners get into a groove early it could end up being a long day for Chip Kelly and his UCLA Bruins.The Bruins defence managed to get 4 sacks against the Owls offence but gave up over 200 yards in rushing which could spell big trouble against this Sooners run game.
I believe that the Sooners will get the win in this week’s match up and they are heavy favourites in the betting odds, but with the talent on show the game could well be very entertaining. And with Chip Kelly being involved you just never know what could happen.
UCLA @ Oklahoma kicks off at 6pm(BST) on Saturday 8th of September. (Ideal for fans this side of the pond!)