California Golden Bears (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) @ No. 23 Washington State Cougars (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 12, 10:30PM EST (7:30PM PST)
Where: Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA.
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CAL +15/WSU -15
Over/Under Total: OFF
The Washington State Cougars host the California Golden Bears this weekend in Pullman Washington—also known as Palouse country. This game has more on the line for Washington State than Cal as far as big time bowl implications. WSU, 7-2, (6-0 in conference), shares the top spot in the PAC 12 North with their in-state rival the Washington Huskies (6-0 in conference). After a dismal 0-2 start to the season, the Cougars have rallied off 7 wins in a row. They will go for 8 wins in a row (something they haven’t done in 86 years) at Martin Stadium this Saturday night. There is quite a stir in the PAC 12 regarding which teams will win-out, upset, or spoil certain bowl chances for the top teams. This contest between Cal and WSU may be a showdown of two very efficient, capable, gun-slinging quarterbacks in the Coug’s Luke Falk and the Bear’s Davis Webb. Last week the Cougars absolutely demolished the Arizona Wildcats in a 69-7 romp! WSU QB Luke Falk broke the PAC 12 record for single–game passing percentage by completing 91.4 percent of his passes (32-35). He is finding targets all over the field and running the offense as good as any QB does in the country. Cal’s Davis Webb is a senior who recently returned from injury but he is also capable of dicing up a defense with his passing ability. However, Webb and his team were shellacked at home last week by the Washington Huskies 66-27 where Webb was intercepted 3 times by the Husky’s top ranked defense. Can the Cougars match their in-state rival by putting a similar beat down on the Golden Bears? Maybe, but the WSU defense is not as polished as the Huskies especially in the secondary, but it is a home game and a lot of extra energy may be a key factor for the Coug’s defensive effort.
California is 0-4 on the road this season and it will not be any easier playing on the road at Washington State. The Bears will need to play turnover free football as well as stepping up on defense to try and slow down the Air-Raid offensive attack of WSU. WSU is averaging 43 points per game and they have established enough of a running game to really mess with opposing defenses. In the past teams defended pretty much the pass only and would get burned once in a while but this season they have to address both the run and pass, and it is difficult when the QB you’re facing completed 91.4 percent of his passes the week before. Falk is one of the most dangerous QBs in the country and this will be the main issue for the Bear’s defense on Saturday evening. Another disadvantage for the Bears is the 44.4 points they allow to opponents per game. The Cougars defense is twice as good as they only allow 24 points per game—not a stellar number but hey, it’s a lot better than California’s D.
This game has the potential to be a shootout between two really good QBs. If the Bears' D can keep the Cougs from blowing up the scoreboard this might be the game of the week, well, it could be a highlight reel for both QBs and receivers. Davis Webb actually has more touchdown passes this season (30) than Luke Falk (28). Webb’s top receiver, Chad Hansen, has 64 receptions and 9 TDs for the Bears while Falk’s top receiver, Gabe Marks, has 61 receptions and 10 TDs for the Cougars. The Cougars are the home favorite at -15 early with the total OFF as of this writing, but I would imagine a total in this matchup could reach as high as 75.5 so keep an eye out at the sports books for the most recent totals as the week ends. Last week the Cougars covered -18 at home with the pounding they gave Arizona. The Cougs are 4-1 ATS at home and 3-3 ATS as the favorite. California is 2-3 ATS as the dog, and 1-3 ATS on the road.
I like the Cougars at home this weekend. They have overcome early struggles and are too good of a team to lay down at home against a semi-good team in Cal can score, but they have a poor scoring defense and as good as Davis Webb can be he has been wreckless at times tossing 11 INTs this year insluding three last week! WSU will keep focused with an eye on securing a birth in the big bowl games!
I like Washington to get the money. Cougs win 45-24.
Wilson's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Cougars cover and win. Luck to ya.
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