Four (Not So) Preposterous Predictions: Stanford vs. UCLA

Here are four things that probably won't (but maybe will) happen Saturday at Stanford Stadium. Vote for the least preposterous prediction and feel free to leave your own in the comments section. 

1. Stanford will hold UCLA to less than 60 yards rushing.

Why it's preposterous: The Bruins rank second in the conference and 28th in the nation in rushing yards per game (214.0) and haven’t been held to fewer than 141 yards on the ground this season. Tailbacks Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman lead the Bruins' rushing attack, while quarterback Richard Brehaut is also a threat to run. Oh, and Stanford is playing its first game without its best defender, Shayne Skov

Why it could happen: The Cardinal leads the nation in rushing defense, allowing a paltry 36 yards per game, and has had 2 weeks to prepare for UCLA's pistol attack. The Bruins may also be forced to go to the air more than they would like if Stanford jumps on them early, though that didn't happen in their 49-20 loss to Texas.

2. Andrew Luck will complete at least 80% of his passes.

Why it's preposterous: As good as he’s been this season, Luck has completed at least 70% of his passes in only one game (71.4% against Duke). The passing game isn't yet the well oiled machine it was toward the end of last season with Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin in the fold.  

Why it could happen: UCLA ranks 78th in the nation in pass efficiency defense and, to make matters worse, its secondary is banged up. The 80% mark wouldn't be unprecedented for Luck. He eclipsed it three times last season, including a career best 20-for-24 performance against USC. The TriumviratE is back in full force after Coby Fleener missed most of the Arizona game following a hit to the head. 

3. The Cardinal will shut out the Bruins for a second straight year. 

Why it's preposterous: Last year's 35-0 thumping was the Cardinal's first shutout of UCLA since 1941. The Bruins' offense hasn't been bad during their 2-2 start. Rick Neuheisel's troops have averaged 27 points per game and rank 59th in total offense. The last time Stanford shut out the same team in consecutive years was 1948-49, when the Cardinal blanked Washington by a combined score of 60-0.

Why it could happen: In addition to having 2 weeks to prepare and no real reason to look past UCLA  to next week's game against Colorado, the Stanford defense has to be eager to prove that it will be just fine, even dominant, without Skov. The unit is already working off a second-half shutout against Arizona.

4. Stanford will intercept at least three passes. 

Why it's preposterous: Stanford is one of six FBS teams without an interception. UCLA, by comparison, has three in four games, while Vanderbilt has 14. Now that's preposterous. Brehaut played well last week against Oregon State and has yet to throw a pick this season. The Bruins are a run-oriented team, so Stanford's secondary may not be tested often. 

Why it could happen: The Cardinal's interception drought has to come to an end sometime. Brehaut and Kevin Prince combined for two picks in last year's loss.  

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