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Emerald Bowl Preview

December 27, 2006

College Football  - Florida State Seminoles vs. UCLA Bruins (3, 39) 8:00 PM EST

Actually, in another watered-down bowl season, the Emerald Bowl looks to be a pretty good matchup of a couple of defensive-minded teams. And while UCLA can boast of that wonderful 13-9 upset of the USC Trojans three weeks ago, FSU wonders what could have been after five close losses.

UCLA began this season by winning four of its first five games. But QB Ben Olson injured his knee, and the Bruins, under backup Patrick Cowan, lost four games in a row. Then the Bruins won their last three games straight, allowing 28 points total to bowl-bound Oregon State, Arizona State and USC, to finish up at 7-5 overall, 5-4 and in fourth place in the PAC 10.

Florida State finished a disappointing regular season at 6-6 overall, 3-5 and mired in fifth place in the ACC's Atlantic Division. And although this team probably doesn't deserve to be in a bowl game, they haven't had much luck.

The Seminoles lost by seven points to Clemson (in the last minute), by four at North Carolina State, by five to Boston College, by three at Maryland and by seven in the season finale to Florida. The only game FSU wasn't in this season was an embarrassing 30-0 loss at home to Wake Forest.

UCLA is a profitable 8-4 against the spread this season, 4-3 ATS as favorites.

Florida State is only 5-7 vs. the line this season, but 2-0 ATS as underdogs.

The UCLA quarterback situation is still a bit muddled. Cowan, who ran for 55 important yards and a touchdown in the Bruins' victory over USC, suffered a concussion in that game and is listed (as we all are) as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Olson has apparently recovered from his knee injury and may be good to go.

On the season, Olson completed 64% of his passes and compiled a 5/5 TD/INT ratio, while Cowan hit on 54% of his throws and owns a 9/7 TD/INT ratio.

FSU sophomore quarterback, Drew Weatherford had some tough times this season, but will make the start Wednesday for the Seminoles. Weatherford completed 57% of his passes this season and owns an 11/10 TD/INT ratio.

These two teams, who have never matched up on the football field, played one common opponent this season. UCLA beat Rice 26-16 as 27-point home chalk in Week 2, while Florida State bounced the Owls 55-7 as 30-point home favorites in Week 4.

Statistically speaking:

The Bruins offense is ranked 76th in Division 1 college football by averaging 321 total yards per game, while the Seminoles defense is ranked a solid 15th by allowing just 279 TYPG.

The FSU offense is ranked 73rd at 322 TYPG, while the UCLA defense is ranked a respectable 33rd at 305 TYPG.

The Bruins are outrushing opponents this season by a 124-90 yards-per-game average, while the Seminoles are outgrounding foes by a 96-84 YPG margin.

UCLA is ranked 75th with a 29:24 average time-of-possession, while FSU is ranked 86th at 28:60.

The Bruins are ranked 27th with a +6 turnover margin this season, while the 'Noles are a troublesome 10, which ranks 107th (out of 119 D1 teams).

UCLA games are averaging 41 points this season, and the O/U is 2-10 in Bruins games.

FSU games are averaging 44 points this season, and the O/U is 7-5 in Seminoles games.

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