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The pick: Why Washington State will beat California

With two games remaining, one against California and the next against an opponent to be determined, we still have a chance at 5-0 in our weekly Washington State picks.

In Game 1, we predicted a 37-35 win over Oregon State. The Cougars won 38-28.

In Game 2, we picked Oregon over WSU 34-31. The Ducks were victorious 43-29.

In Game 3, we called a 38-30 win for USC. OK, we weren’t remotely close when it came to WSU’s point total, but we accurately picked that of the Trojans, who won 38-13.

The past two games, we’ve followed the advice of Vegas oddsmakers, who left little faith in Nick Rolovich to pull off upsets against Oregon and USC teams that were ranked at the time. We’ll ignore them this week, though.

The Cougars are two-point underdogs against the Golden Bears and Saturday’s game is admittedly a hard one to pick. WSU beat OSU, which then beat Cal, but the Golden Bears are coming off a win over the Ducks, who previously defeated the Cougars. So the transitive property doesn’t do much for us here.

Cal’s offense may be one of the worst in the Power Five. While the Golden Bears have taken strides on defense since allowing 65 points in their first two games, they don’t present the same challenges they have in the past three meetings against WSU.

With more production from WSU’s offense and more resolve from the defense, the Cougars will even their record at 2-2, and improve ours to 4-0, with their first victory in 35 days.

The pick: Washington State 34, Cal 28.