UCLA Vs. Colorado: Bruins Can Take Big Step Forward In Pac-12 South Race Against Buffaloes

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 29: Derrick Coleman #33 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates his tochdown with Joseph Fauria #8 of the UCLA Bruins for a 17-10 lead over the California Golden Bears at Rose Bowl on October 29, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Bruins control their destiny once again in the Pac-12 South race after Arizona State's loss to Washington State last weekend. The team can capitalize and move one step closer to playing in the Pac-12 conference championship game with a win over Colorado.

The UCLA Bruins slipped up last week with a 31-6 road loss to the Utah Utes, giving control of the Pac-12 South race to the Arizona St. Sun Devils. ASU, however, lost to Washington St. 37-27 late Saturday to give the advantage right back to the Bruins. Heading into the season's final two weeks, the Bruins and Sun Devils find themselves tied with 4-3 records in the Pac-12.

Since UCLA won the head-to-head match-up against ASU (in a thrilling 29-28 home game over the Sun Devils two weeks ago), the Bruins would get the nod if they can secure a better or identical conference record than ASU. Put another way, the Bruins can guarantee themselves a spot in the Pac-12 conference title game by closing out the season with back-to-back wins.

That task begins on Saturday against the Colorado Buffaloes, a team that has struggled all season but found its stride last weekend in a 48-29 win over the Arizona Wildcats. Colorado is 1-6 in the Pac-12 and will struggle scoring points against UCLA on the road (the Buffaloes have the nation's 101st-best offense with 21.3 points per game).

UCLA, however, cannot count on mediocrity from Colorado's end in this game. The Buffaloes could surprise for the second week in a row, and UCLA's recent inconsistent play rises more cause for concern.

The Bruins also need to capitalize on this game due to the potential adversity the team could face in its regular season finale against the Trojans. USC has been good all season- losing only two games against the Sun Devils and Stanford Cardinal this year- and will be motivated in a cross-town rivalry game against the Bruins. A win is far from guaranteed in that game, and the UCLA players can do themselves a favor before their match-up with the Trojans by first capitalizing on their match-up with Colorado this week.

The game is scheduled for a 4:30 kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 12th.

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