What’s my line?

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

Psssstt, come here. No, not her?you. I don’t even know her. What’s her name? Lanolin? Like sheep’s wool? Interesting.

Anyways, I have a very lucrative secret to share with you. No, it’s not that get-rich quick crap or the pyramid schemes that screws everyone over. I’m talking about something legitimate and real. Now, apparently the odds-makers in the city of sin decided to make UCLA the favorite Saturday. And not only that, they also gave the Bruins a 4.5-point spread. Maybe it’s school pride, or maybe my gambling addiction is, once again, getting the better of me, but I whole-heartedly believe that the Utes are going to win a marginal, if not considerable, victory over a depleted Bruin team.

Now, I’ll give UCLA credit. It did finish last season with a 10-2 record behind the stellar play of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, quarterback Drew Olsen and tight end Mercedes Lewis. However, a year has passed and all three of the above-listed stars are graduated and now vying for positions on their respective NFL teams. The Bruins are dealing with the loss of roughly half of their team, all of their major offensive threats and carry a preseason ranking of somewhere around a thousand. So, wait?why are the Bruins favored? Oh yeah, because they are from a BCS conference. Well, let me tell all of you doubters, haters and BYU lovers a little bit about the U’s team this year.

The Utes are ranked No. 27 in a plethora of polls and are returning 14 starters (six on offense, eight on defense) from a team that made tremendous strides toward the end of last season (and humiliated No. 24 Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl). Among the returning starters are preseason All-American safety Eric Weddle and the undefeated stat-posting machine Brett Ratliff. They have the most talented wide receiving corps in the conference and possibly one of the deepest in the nation. And they have the strongest fan base this side of “Saved by the Bell” (the Ute ticket office has sold more than 5,500 tickets for the game tomorrow).

Last year, Mountain West Conference teams played well against the much more esteemed Pac-10 teams, carrying a combined record of 3-2. In the last five years, the Utes are 5-2 against the conference and have won the last four games (outscoring opponents 98-57).

Bruins favored? What a load of BcS.

There was a time when the Pac-10 could dominate a smaller conference like the MWC, but that time was 10 or 15 years ago, when Kriss Kross was making us all Jump, Jump and the WWF was still entertaining. After Utah bucked the trend in 2004, I figured the mid-major garbage would be thrown out the window, but apparently I was wrong. Being in a major conference still means more than having a good team.

The one advantage the Bruins do hold over the Utes in tomorrow’s contest is that they will be playing at home in the Rose Bowl, but I believe the talent and cohesion on this Utah squad will be more than enough to get another excellent season started. Besides, with the MUSS causing its usual raucousness, this should not feel like hostile territory at all for the Utes. This is as good of a bet as you will probably ever find in Vegas (I know, I kind of sound like a bookie).

And no, my opinion is not at all biased.