The college football preseason polls should be out in early August. It’s not clear if either UCLA or Texas A&M will be in the Top 25. Maybe neither is, but it’s still a very intriguing matchup when they play a rare Sunday night game in Week 1. It’s the finale of a home-and-home series. For this matchup, UCLA heads into College Football Week 1 as the betting favorite against Texas A&M.
College Football Week 1: How to Bet Texas A&M at UCLA
Hot Seat For CoachesFirst of all, both A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr. enter this season on the hot seat, so the loser here is really going to be feeling the pressure. Sumlin is a respectable 44-21 as Texas A&M’s head coach. Plus, he’s also only 21-19 in the SEC, with three straight five-loss seasons and a history of collapses.It’s no secret that this will be another high-pressure season for him, especially now that A&M athletic director Scott Woodward saying: “Coach knows he has to win and he has to win this year.”On the other hand, UCLA’s won just four games in 2016, meaning Mora enters his sixth season with the Bruins needing to bounce back in a big way. Mora is just 2-10 in his last 12 games against Power Five opponents (3-10 in his last 13 if you include independent BYU), which not acceptable for a program that has accumulated so much talent on the recruiting trail. To make matters worse for Mora, USC is going to be a powerhouse this season and is winning all the recruiting battles with UCLA.
Last Year’s GameWhen opening 2016 in College Station, both had high hopes. The Bruins were ranked 16 th in the country and brought back QB Josh Rosen, who set several school records in 2015 as a freshman. Texas A&M was just outside the Top 25 but was loaded with future NFL players.The Aggies won the game 31-24 in overtime. QB Travis Knight threw for 239 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores, including that winning one in overtime. Texas A&M sealed the victory when Justin Evans knocked down Josh Rosen’s pass at the goal line on fourth down. Knight, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, outplayed Rosen, who three interceptions.UCLA dropping to 2-3 vs. Texas A&M and 17-15- 4 all-time vs. the teams which currently make up the SEC. UCLA had won its last four season-opening games 2012- at Rice, 2013 – Nevada; 2014 – at Virginia; 2015 – vs. Virginia.
Bruins Are Hoping For Healthy RosenIndeed, if Rosen plays like he did as a freshman, the Bruins should compete for the Pac-12 title. He struggled last year before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. UCLA was 3-3 when he was sidelined. Rosen has ground to make up on USC counterpart Sam Darnold.Besides, while Rosen was sidelined, the Trojans re-established themselves as a national power and Darnold emerged as the potential No. 1 quarterback of the NFL’s 2018 draft class.
How’s the Defense For This Season?Defensively, UCLA will be led by senior linebacker Kenny Young. Young started all 12 games last season and finished second on the team with 90 tackles. He ranked fifth in the conference in total tackles per game average (7.5) and was named second-team All-Pac-12 Conference.As a matter of fact, he tied for 11th in the Pac-12 in sacks per game (0.42) and was second on the Bruin team with 8.5 tackles for loss. Young’s total of three fumble recoveries ranked tied for eighth in the country. He was credited with at least six tackles in each game last season and recorded a season-best of 12 stops versus Arizona.
Which QB Will Play For A&M?For starters, Knight was at A&M for just one season, so now Sumlin must find a quarterback. The leader is likely Jake Hubenak, who has started 3 games for the Aggies, including against Louisville in a bowl game and Ole Miss at Kyle Field. Neither opportunity was planned. The results were decidedly mixed.In 3 starts, Hubenak completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 768 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. As the only Aggies QB with experience — redshirt Nick Starkel and 2017 recruits Kellen Mond and Connor Blumrick will be freshmen — Hubenak has a leg up.If there wasn’t a massive scandal at Baylor, there’s a good chance Mond isn’t at Texas A&M right now. He was committed to the Bears for almost an entire year. Less than a week after Baylor fired Art Briles in late May of 2016, Mond decommitted. He verbally pledged to the Aggies in late June. Mond stuck with it this time.But as a high school senior, Mond emerged as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback for his class. Mond threw for 1,803 yards and 19 touchdowns in 10 games. On the ground, rushing for 757 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has the most upside of the QBs.
College Football Series History
- Total Meetings: 5
- First Meeting: October 12th, 1940
- Last Meeting: September 3rd, 2016
- All-Time Series: Texas A&M leads, 3–2–0
- Largest Margin of Victory: UCLA 21-0 (1955)
- Longest Win Streak: 2 (WVU) (UCLA)
- Current Win Streak: Texas A&M with 1 (2016)
Latest College Football Betting Trends
- Odds to Win the 2018 Championship: +5000
- Odds to Win PAC-12 Conference: +600
- 2017-18 Regular Season Wins: O 7 -135 / U 7 +105
Texas A&M Aggies
- Odds to Win the 2018 Championship: +9000
- Odds to Win SEC Conference: +3300
- 2017-18 Regular Season Wins: O 7 -130 / U 7 +100
Latest College Football Week 1 Betting Trends
- Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. SEC.
- Aggies are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
- Aggies are 7-22 ATS in their last 29 games on grass.
- Aggies are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
- Aggies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.