When/Where: Saturday, 1 p.m., California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California. TV: Pac-12 Networks.
Line: California by 18 1/2. Last time: California defeated Washington State 60-59 in Pullman (2014)
What it means for WSU: This is a chance for the Cougars to go into California and remind recruits that there is a program up north that throws the ball even more than the Golden Bears. Many Pac-12 observers may have written off WSU after the loss to Portland State in the opener, but if the Cougars can beat No. 24 California for their first win over a ranked team since 2013, they can reestablish their reputation as a team to be reckoned with.
What it means for Cal: The Golden Bears are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. They’ve only made one bowl game since, but can practically assure themselves of a postseason berth with a win Saturday. After playing WSU, Cal must travel to face two Top-10 teams in Utah and UCLA. With all-everything junior quarterback Jared Goff likely to declare for the NFL draft after the season, the Golden Bears need to capitalize on his presence this year.
Key matchup: Trevor Davis vs. WSU special teams. It’s almost certain that Goff and the Cal offense will put up plenty of points on the Cougars. That’s OK – they did last year, too. Cal’s defense is shaky and WSU has the playmakers to once again match or exceed the Golden Bears’ offensive output. But what doomed WSU last year were breakdowns on special teams, allowing Davis to return consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns. Davis is back and he’s still returning kicks for Cal, so it will be imperative that WSU not gift the Golden Bears any points this year.
By Jacob Thorpe
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