Week 9 - California at Washington

Posted Oct 23, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction - California at Washington

- a href="http://cfn.scout.com/2/1338918.html">Utah at USC | UCLA at Oregon | Arizona at Colorado
- Stanford at Oregon State | California at Washington

Cal (1-6) at Washington (4-3) Oct. 26, 11:00, Fox Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Washington is mired in a free-fall. If it can't get out of it soon, this once-promising season is going to go up in flames. The Huskies have dropped three straight, raising worries among the fan base that a fourth straight 7-6 campaign of mediocrity might be on the horizon. U-Dub actually earned respect for going toe-to-toe with Stanford and Oregon, but the bottom fell out during last week's 53-24 collapse at Arizona State. It's officially crossroads time in Seattle for the program and head coach Steve Sarkisian. The calendar may say 2013, but it's already 2014 in Berkeley. Cal is either the worst team in the Pac-12 or a run above Colorado, pending their matchup in Boulder on Nov. 16. The Bears haven't even been competitive lately, losing five straight by no fewer than 18 points.

Why Cal Might Win: Washington is certainly vulnerable these days, and is unlikely to be fired up by a visit from a league bottom-feeder. The Husky defense just got done being exposed for more than 500 yards by the Sun Devils. The Bears will continue to attack with the nation's seventh-ranked passing game, the staple of head coach Sonny Dykes' Bear Raid system. The key will be to get the ball in the hands of receivers Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs and Richard Rodgers, three of the team's best playmakers.

Why Washington Might Win: The Cal defense does not belong in the Pac-12 this year. The Bears are completely out of their league on this side of the ball, yielding 30 or more points in every game. They're 123rd nationally against the pass, while allowing 18 rushing touchdowns. The Huskies ought to get back on track, without much resistance, softening up the Cal front with RB Bishop Sankey in order to create more opportunities over the top. U-Dub has the perfect opponent on which to unleash its frustration.

Who To Watch Out For: How's Keith Price's thumb? The Washington quarterback played horribly in Tempe, a situation exacerbated by the injury. He hopes to play this week, but just in case, redshirt freshman backup Cyler Miles has only taken a few snaps this year.

- Seven games in, Cal might be juggling its quarterbacks. Rookie Jared Goff has been Dykes' guy all year, but Zach Kline has entered the last couple of games. Both of shown the inconsistencies of underclassmen, leaving the staff with some uncertainty about the balance of the year.

- The Husky D needs to make a statement right now after being shoved around by ASU. Expect linebackers John Timu, Princeton Fuimaono and Shaq Thompson to be especially ornery as they attempt to breathe respect back into the unit.

What Will Happen: Washington can't be as bad as it looked last week in Arizona. Returning home to face Cal should provide the Huskies with the right venue and the right opponent to get back on track. In an homage to its September self, U-Dub will combine an efficient offense with a hard-hitting D to snap the three-game losing streak.

Prediction: Washington 45 … Cal 17
Line: Washington -24 – O/U: 65
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 2.5
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