The No.14 UCLA Bruins and No.11 Kansas State Wildcats were among the best teams in college football in 2014, but weren’t quite good enough to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Instead, they’ll meet on Friday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
UCLA had national championship aspirations at the beginning of the season. However, back-to-back losses to Utah and Oregon in the beginning of October all but dashed their hopes of winning a title. The Bruins had a chance to earn a rematch with the Ducks in their last game, but they lost by 21 points at home to Stanford, failing to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Even though the Bruins came up short in a few big games, they have multiple marquee victories on their schedule. UCLA visited then-No.15 Arizona State and won 62-27 on Sept. 25. They also defeated Arizona and USC, who ended the season in the top 25.
Finishing behind No.5 Baylor and No.6 TCU in the Big 12, Kansas State exceeded expectations in 2014. Ranked No.20 in the preseason, the Wildcats won every game in which they were favored. Their only losses came against Baylor, TCU and then-No.5 Auburn.
While Kansas State took care of business against the teams they were supposed to beat, they don’t have any marquee wins on their schedule. They beat Oklahoma, who was ranked No.11 at the time of their matchup, but the Sooners finished the regular season out of the top 25 and lost their bowl game by 34 points. The Wildcats have five wins against bowl teams.
The Bruins rank 39th in points per game (32.9), and their offense has been the reason for most of their wins. UCLA has scored at least 28 points in seven of their nine wins. Their defense ranks just 73rd in the nation, and they’ve surrendered at least 30 points in all three losses.
Brett Hundley began the year as a Heisman Trophy candidate, though he didn’t come close to winning the award. The quarterback threw for 3,019 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2014. In his last five games, he’s totaled 12 throwing and rushing scores, and just one interception.
Kansas State ranks 24th in both points scored per game (35.8) and points allowed (21.8). The Wildcats are 8-1 when scoring at least 26 points, which UCLA has surrendered eight times. They have the No.94 rushing offense in the nation, but quarterback Jake Waters leads the No.20 passing attack. He’s thrown for 3,163 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Pac-12 has been dominant in bowl games, going 5-1. Kansas State has lost five of their last six bowl games.
Start Time: 6:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: UCLA favored by 1.5 points
Over/Under: 61 points
Prediction: Kansas State over UCLA, 40-31