UCLA vs. Baylor: What To Watch For In Holiday Bowl

Manny Flores, Chris Williams/Icon SMI

Manny Flores, Chris Williams/Icon SMI

I could be picking a ton of BCS or non-BCS bowls to watch this postseason, but there is not any game out there I may enjoy more than the Holiday Bowl.

From a pure entertainment standpoint in terms of points and yardage, this is the one you better not miss!

Both offenses are potent as any out there and the stars will be aligned to witness a borderline Alamo Bowl from one season ago (Baylor-UW).

Defense was optional last time around and while this Holiday Bowl should have a few more stops, it shall be thrilling on which team shows up in this matchup.

Will we see the same Baylor squad that could not stop a nose bleed in September and October, or the recent Phil Bennett defense that slowed down and upset top-ranked Kansas State?

Will see the same Bruins squad that nearly upset Stanford in the Pac-12 title game or the one that lost a game earlier in the season to California!

This should start off on a bang since both running backs are explosive and talented as ever before. Johnathan Franklin and Lache Seastrunk may take it to the house on several occasions, and these two defenses may not have the jet speed to slow them down.

Plus, the passing games for these two have been very impressive thanks to a few freaks that can stretch the field. Bruins tight end Joseph Fauria and Bears All-American wide receiver Terrance Williams are some of your finest athletes out there.

Williams is a legit NFL prospect that very well could torch the UCLA secondary for 200 yards with the way Nick Florence is spinning it.

Florence is a duel-threat quarterback that can tuck it and run, but this game simply comes down to how well the opposing run defenses perform.

UCLA cannot thread the needle with Brett Hundley quite as well as Baylor, but they can run the rock arguably just as good.

The Bears are just No. 89 against the run, but they have played well down the stretch capping off three victories in a row over Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Franklin was a Doak Walker finalist and he can break off long runs with the best of them, but so can Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin.

Throw in the star trio of receivers in Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese and Lanear Sampson and this offense truly is unstoppable even against a fairly talented Bruin defense led by linebacker Anthony Barr.

Expect the unthinkable in terms of lead changes and just when you think the game is over, it will turn the other way on in the drop of a hat. This is one of your best bowls of the entire postseason, and I will bank on a shootout that goes down to the wire.

Time: 9:45 p.m. Eastern (12/27)

Network: ESPN

Experts Pick: UCLA by 1

Danny V’s Pick: Baylor 45, UCLA 42

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