It’s time to buy low on Chip Kelly, who is 3-10 at UCLA and sinking to his lowest point as a coach.
Kelly still can coach, and the Bruins, who returned 19 starters from last year’s team, still can be one of the nation’s surprise teams. With Oklahoma on deck, the Bruins desperately need to beat San Diego State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Competent quarterback play certainly would help. Dorian Thompson-Robinson turned in a disastrous performance — completing 8-of-26 passes with two interceptions — in a 24-14 loss at Cincinnati on Aug. 29. Kelly nevertheless remains optimistic about his sophomore QB.
Thompson-Robinson must play at a much higher level, and star running back Joshua Kelley must return to the field. Kelley, who rushed for 1,243 yards as a junior, missed the season opener with a nagging knee injury, but is probable to play Saturday.
Rocky Long has had strong teams, but this is not one. San Diego State opened with a 6-0 win over Weber State as Ryan Agnew passed for just 108 yards and Juwan Washington rushed for 55 yards on 22 carries. Again, the opponent was Weber State, not Alabama or Clemson. UCLA’s defense showed improvement at Cincinnati. This line opened -7 and is rising because the Bruins should be the right side at -8¹/₂.
Texas (+6½) over LSU: Tom Herman is 13-2-1 against the spread as an underdog, including 8-2-1 as Texas coach. In those 16 games, Herman has 10 outright wins, the latest over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Over the summer, this game was posted in the pick-’em range, so why the major line move after one game?
The Longhorns have the better quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, and a coaching edge with Herman, who upset Oklahoma as a seven-point ’dog last year. The Tigers unveiled their spread offense in a 55-3 blowout of Georgia Southern, but this is a much tougher road test against a real defense.
Fresno State (+3) over Minnesota: The Bulldogs are 22-7 straight up and 20-6-1 ATS the past three seasons under coach Jeff Tedford, who’s 9-0 ATS as a ’dog.
The Gophers were outgained and got lucky to hold off South Dakota State 28-21 in the opener. Fresno put a serious scare into USC in a 31-23 loss as senior quarterback Jorge Reyna passed for 256 yards and rushed for a team-high 88.
Last week: 0-3
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