Week 7 - California at Washington State

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - California at Washington State

Cal (2-4) at Washington State (2-4) Oct. 13, 10:30, Pac-12 Network

Here's The Deal: Cal has life. The priest is cueing up last rites just in case, but the Bears will live to see another day after laying an unlikely beating on UCLA a week ago, 43-17. At least for one day, all that had ailed the program throughout the first five games had been vanquished in favor of a team that played as if it was a legitimate Pac-12 contender. Still, there can be absolutely no let-up for a program that remains two games below .500, and has three ranked opponents left on the schedule. Wazzu is 2-4 as well, but doesn't have the luxury of momentum the way the Bears do. The Cougars have dropped three in a row since beating UNLV on Sept. 14, and appeared to have hit a wall on offense during last weekend's 19-6 loss to Oregon State.

Why Cal Might Win: Obviously, a lot depends on which Cal team shows up, but if it's the one that hammered UCLA last week, Washington State has no shot. The Bears dominated a ranked Bruins at the point of attack, piling up almost 500 total yards to go along with six sacks and six takeaways on defense. All of the offensive stars were aligned, with Zach Maynard throwing four touchdown passes, C.J. Anderson running for a career-best 151 yards and Keenan Allen catching eight balls. Anderson hurt his ankle in the win, but still hopes to play this week. If he can't go, Isi Sofele is a more than able-bodied replacement.

Why Washington State Might Win: Cal may have rolled a week ago, but this remains a highly volatile program that can lay an egg at any moment. The Cougars will be able to attack two weaknesses on Saturday night. First, the Bears have yielded more sacks than any other program in America, which will afford DE Travis Long and one of the nation's underrated pass rushes a clear path to Maynard's line of sight. The D, on the other hand, has been spotty, ranking No. 9 in the Pac-12. This could be a good opponent for the Washington State passing game to get back on track, as it attempts to get the ball in the hands of receivers Marquess Wilson, Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers.

What To Watch Out For: The Cal O-line has been horrendous, but the one in Pullman hasn't been much better. Wazzu has gotten shoved all over the field in the first half, a trend that could continue in Week 7. The Bears have registered eight sacks over the last two games, getting pressure from the second level, but an especially nice push from DT Kendrick Payne. The senior has always had the potential in Berkeley, but has begun to flash it on a more consistent basis, good news for the members of the front seven surrounding him.

What Will Happen: While Cal can be tricky, you get the feeling that this team is about to make the most of its new lease on life, particularly against weaker opponents. It's also worth noting that the Bears have played a brutal schedule and have lost to three ranked teams. They'll come out swinging on the Palouse, using their offensive balance to keep the Cougars guessing. The few long balls that the D allows will keep the game close for a while, but won't prevent a second straight win.

CFN Prediction: Cal 31 … Washington State 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Cal -7.5 O/U: 54.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2