California +15 3.3% Play
It's hard to come back and fade Washington State a third week in a row especially after I had Oregon as a POD against them, but I feel like I learned a lot watching that game. Now, Washington State is on their second road game in a row and they have now cracked the top 10. They will face another solid defense that is under rated. Oregon was very good on defense a week ago, but their offense just left them on the field too long.
When I look at this match-up the key is going to be whether or not Cal can avoid Washington State getting off to a fast start. The two games Cal really were taken out of the game and not involved in a close game was against Washington and Oregon, two programs that start fast. When you look at Cal and the second half adjustments they make on defense you have to be impressed. Cal, held UNC to 13 points in the second half week 1, Ole Miss to 0 points, USC to 17 points (all in the 4th quarter), and then they held Washington to 14 points a week ago in the 2nd half. When you look at Washington State they are not the same offense as a year ago ranking 55th 5.6 yards per play. They get off to slow starts in most of their games. It was 13-10 last week at Oregon, and they trailed 10-7 after the first quarter. It was 17-17 vs. USC, but they trailed 7-3 after the first quarter. Vs. Boise it was 10-10 at the half and they actually trailed in the 4th quarter 31-10. Against Oregon State they were only up 7-2 after the first quarter.
This is important so Cal's offense doesn't just abandon the running game like they did a week ago against Washington. Their offensive line is not the best and they struggled in that game on the road in a tough environment. I don't see that happening here back at home where they will have their fans behind them. Remember Washington State last year averaged nearly a yard less on the road per play than at home. The sample size is not that large this year, but that offense certainly struggled last week against Oregon and I could see them having issues again this week against a Cal defense that just doesn't give up even late in games when they are losing big. Cal's defense has improved so far by more than 1.5 yards per play at this point in the season compared to last year and they are ranked 38th allowing 5.1 yards per play. That's impressive given how they have struggled on offense and their defense has spent a lot of time on the field. This Cal defense held the best PAC12 teams in the conference well under their season averages. They held Washington 40 yards below their season average and 1.6 yards per play below their season average. They held USC 1.63 yards below their season average and 111.8 total yards below their season average. They were in a dog fight against USC, but happened to turn the ball over 6 times. They also caught USC the week before Washington State did and it was a much healthier USC team at the time.
Let's look at Cal vs. USC at home as they were +70 yards, they got into USC territory 6 out of 14 times, and they allowed USC to get into their territory 8 out of 14 times mostly due to the 6 turnovers they had. Washington State who was playing their 5th home game in a row got USC in their second road game in a row, but also traveling on short rest since it was a Friday game. A major advantage. IN that game we saw similar advantages although Washington State was +150 yards, and held USC to 5-14 and were +1 in TO margin. It was a much more banged up USC squad. At the end of the day this is a buy low sell high situation. I like the way California has played most of the year, but they are coming off rough back to back performances that make you think they are due to be blown out here again. Washington State comes in high off two huge wins and are now ranked #10, but I remind you they faced two teams that just had too many injuries to overcome. I underestimated Oregon's loss at QB as some experts say it was worth north of a TD after watching that game I tend to agree. Cal's defense will play well just like Oregon did, but they'll put together some scoring drives and this game will be closer throughout and I wouldn't be shocked if Cal got a chance to win it in the end.California +15 3.3% Play
It's hard to come back and fade Washington State a third week in a row especially after I had Oregon as a POD against them, but I feel like I learned a lot watching that game. Now, Washington State is on their second road game in a row and they have now cracked the top 10. They will face another solid defense that is under rated. Oregon was very good on defense a week ago, but their offense just left them on the field too long.
When I look at this match-up the key is going to be whether or not Cal can avoid Washington State getting off to a fast start. The two games Cal really were taken out of the game and not involved in a close game was against Washington and Oregon, two programs that start fast. When you look at Cal and the second half adjustments they make on defense you have to be impressed. Cal, held UNC to 13 points in the second half week 1, Ole Miss to 0 points, USC to 17 points (all in the 4th quarter), and then they held Washington to 14 points a week ago in the 2nd half. When you look at Washington State they are not the same offense as a year ago ranking 55th 5.6 yards per play. They get off to slow starts in most of their games. It was 13-10 last week at Oregon, and they trailed 10-7 after the first quarter. It was 17-17 vs. USC, but they trailed 7-3 after the first quarter. Vs. Boise it was 10-10 at the half and they actually trailed in the 4th quarter 31-10. Against Oregon State they were only up 7-2 after the first quarter.
This is important so Cal's offense doesn't just abandon the running game like they did a week ago against Washington. Their offensive line is not the best and they struggled in that game on the road in a tough environment. I don't see that happening here back at home where they will have their fans behind them. Remember Washington State last year averaged nearly a yard less on the road per play than at home. The sample size is not that large this year, but that offense certainly struggled last week against Oregon and I could see them having issues again this week against a Cal defense that just doesn't give up even late in games when they are losing big. Cal's defense has improved so far by more than 1.5 yards per play at this point in the season compared to last year and they are ranked 38th allowing 5.1 yards per play. That's impressive given how they have struggled on offense and their defense has spent a lot of time on the field. This Cal defense held the best PAC12 teams in the conference well under their season averages. They held Washington 40 yards below their season average and 1.6 yards per play below their season average. They held USC 1.63 yards below their season average and 111.8 total yards below their season average. They were in a dog fight against USC, but happened to turn the ball over 6 times. They also caught USC the week before Washington State did and it was a much healthier USC team at the time.
Let's look at Cal vs. USC at home as they were +70 yards, they got into USC territory 6 out of 14 times, and they allowed USC to get into their territory 8 out of 14 times mostly due to the 6 turnovers they had. Washington State who was playing their 5th home game in a row got USC in their second road game in a row, but also traveling on short rest since it was a Friday game. A major advantage. IN that game we saw similar advantages although Washington State was +150 yards, and held USC to 5-14 and were +1 in TO margin. It was a much more banged up USC squad. At the end of the day this is a buy low sell high situation. I like the way California has played most of the year, but they are coming off rough back to back performances that make you think they are due to be blown out here again. Washington State comes in high off two huge wins and are now ranked #10, but I remind you they faced two teams that just had too many injuries to overcome. I underestimated Oregon's loss at QB as some experts say it was worth north of a TD after watching that game I tend to agree. Cal's defense will play well just like Oregon did, but they'll put together some scoring drives and this game will be closer throughout and I wouldn't be shocked if Cal got a chance to win it in the end.

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