It was a little uncertain if this game was going to even be played amongst the backdrop of recent bowl cancellations, but with it being game day and no cancellation messages yet provided, it looks like NC State and UCLA will indeed square off in this evening in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
The meeting between these two schools will be just the third on the gridiron, and the first since 1960. While NC State came out on the wrong end of the two prior meetings - with both games also being played in the state of California - the Wolfpack does enter this game as a slight favorite.
The Bruins are an offense-oriented squad that ranked 15th in the FBS scoring 36.5 points per game this season. It’s that offense, led by a dynamic dual-threat QB and a vicious running game, that propelled UCLA to a 5-2 record over their last seven games, with the only losses being to Oregon and PAC-12 champion Utah. An up-and-down defense will be without several of their key pieces in this game.
Will the Bruins be able to ride their Chip Kelly designed offense to a bowl victory and their highest single-season win total since 2014? Or will NC State be able to play the role of the favorite to perfection and capture just the second double-digit win season in school history?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 27-37 (L)
Comment: “I’m just going to enjoy seeing this team one more time since we were all holding our breath the game would actually happen. The month off will show some rust and the team will have their work cutout for them keeping up with Chip Kelly’s offense.“
Prediction: 31-17 (W)
Comment: “I’m still not 100% convinced this game is happening but assuming it does, I like the Pack’s chances. I am concerned about the o-line assuming Ikey doesn’t play.“
Prediction: 34-27 (W)
Comment: “UCLA seems very motivated, but what they do well on offense we are good at stopping on defense. Variety of rushers for the Bruins break through, but our passing game keeps up + we get one D/ST TD“
Prediction: 34-31 (W)
Comment: “NC State O is a little rusty while trying to push the downfield passing game early. The running game gets us back in it in the middle quarters, while the passing game clicks late to snag the W.“
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 32-28 (W)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!