TONIGHT – Washington at California
Posted Nov 2, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - Washington at California

Washington (4-4) at Cal (3-6) Nov. 2, 9:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Now that Washington has proven it can compete in Seattle, can it keep that trend going on the road?

The Huskies have been dynamite at the Clink, its adopted home for 2012, but have yet to win a game outside of the state lines. Heck, in three away games, they've yet to come within 30 points of a victory. While it's clearly been a turbulent year at U-Dub, the team has a tailwind after handing Oregon State its first loss, and is about to embark on the softest portion of its remaining schedule.

Whether or not it's too late remains to be seen, but this is a huge game for head coach Jeff Tedford and his Cal team. Not only is Tedford coaching for his future on national TV, but one more loss knocks his Bears out of the postseason picture. A streaky and volatile team, Cal has reached a low-point with consecutive blowout losses to Stanford and Utah.

Why Washington Might Win: The Huskies have a far better state of mind right now than Cal does.

The Huskies are emboldened after beating Oregon State, while the Bears are reeling. Washington needs to bottle up the defensive energy it has at home, put it in a suitcase and curbside check it with the skycap. The unit picked off four Sean Mannion passes last Saturday, while doing a terrific job on third down. Employing a mix of youth and veterans, U-Dub is getting the job done in the secondary. Senior CB Desmond Trufant will blanket the Cal receivers, especially with star Keenan Allen out, while rookies Shaq Thompson and Marcus Peters will continue to grow as pass defenders.

Why Cal Might Win: Until Washington proves otherwise, it's a team that curls up in the fetal position outside of its hometown.

The Huskies have been futile on offense all year, but the collapse of the D on road trips has been a particular concern for head coach Steve Sarkisian. Without the services of Allen, Cal will lean more than ever on a deep and talented ground game. QB Zach Maynard will break containment, and backs C.J. Anderson, Isi Sofele and Brendan Bigelow offer fresh legs and different options. The Bears will run the ball right at the Pac-12's 11th-ranked ground D, creating opportunities for Maynard to locate his new primary target, rookie WR Chris Harper.

What To Watch Out For: Cal is dealing with injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which could test its depth in the back seven. LB Chris McCain, one of the team's top performers, is nursing a sore ankle, which could hamper him on a short week. The Bears will get a break in facing the nation's 105th-ranked offense, but Huskies RB Bishop Sankey has proven to be a valuable workhorse this season. He's not Chris Polk, but with a strong finish, he could be a 1,000-yard rusher.

What Will Happen: From one week to the next, there's little rhyme or reason to the Pac-12. Good news for Cal.

Washington can't win on the road. And Cal has had some punch in Berkeley. Old habits will be hard to break on Friday night. Call it a last hurrah for the Bears—and possibly Tedford—who'll play their best game in almost a month. Cal will ride the shoulders of its backs, ripping off more than 200 yards on the ground en route to skid-halting win. The Huskies will continue having problems moving the ball, falling short in their quest to mount a comeback.

CFN Prediction: Cal 31 … Washington 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Cal -4 O/U: 52
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 2