Both teams look to capture their first Pac-12 title in over a decade as the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal host the No. 17 UCLA Bruins Friday night at Stanford Stadium.
Stanford hasn't won a conference title since 1999 when Tyrone Willingham was still coach, while the Bruins last won the Pac-12 in 1998.
Now riding a six-game win streak, Stanford forced a rematch in the title game by defeating the Bruins last week 35-17. Running back Stepfan Taylor’s 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns led the charge as the Cardinal gained 221 yards on the ground, and the defense held UCLA to just 73 yards, when they were averaging almost 197 per game.
Freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan won his fourth consecutive start since taking over back in November, going 15-for-22 for 160 yards and one touchdown.
A victory would cap a very successful second year for head coach David Shaw, as the Cardinal stifled the national title hopes of USC and Oregon, and pushed No. 1 Notre Dame to overtime.
The Bruins hope to avoid being Stanford’s latest victim with running back Johnathan Franklin, who was held to his second lowest output of the season last week.
The senior has tallied 1,506 yards and 11 touchdowns this year, but only gained 65 yards against the Cardinal.
UCLA also has a freshman under center, and Brett Hundley posted his lowest passer rating and completion percentage of the season, going 20-for-38 for 261 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
It's been a surreal season for the Bruins, who suffered two losses in three weeks only to peel off five straight wins before last week's letdown. Still it's been a huge success for first-year head coach Jim Mora, whose improved UCLA's record by three wins so far.
The game kicks off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by FOX.
Betting Odds: Stanford is favored by 8 points.
Over/Under: 47 points
Prediction: The odds appear to be stacked against UCLA. They are on road with a freshman quarterback against one of the best defenses in the country. The Bruins offense should look sharper, but ultimately Stanford will win by a slim margin.
Predicted Score: Stanford 24, UCLA 20