California Golden Bears(3-2SU,3-2ATS) vs.Washington Huskies(5-0SU,3-2ATS)
College Football Week6
Date/Time:Friday, October 7, 2017 at 10:45PM EST
Where:Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
Point Spread:CAL +27.5/WASH -27.5
The California Golden Bears come to Seattle on Saturday for a Pac-12 matchup with the Washington Huskies. Cal started the season 3-0, but has dropped two straight. After losing to Oregon on the road last week, 45-24, they now face a daunting back-to-back road assignment with the ranked Huskies. Washington is 5-0 and looking ahead to big things. Last week, Washington won their second straight road game with a 42-7 win over Oregon State. So far, its been smooth sailing for the Huskies, with nary a sweat en route to this point.
Cal isnt that bad. They are dealing with a lot of transition, especially on offense, where they had gotten explosive quarterback play the past several seasons. Its a little more subdued on offense this season, but there are still ample good signs under first-year head coach Justin Wilcox. Its just that the changes he is making, namely in making them a more-balanced team, will take some time to resonate. After starting 3-0, they lost but covered the spread against the Trojans. So for them to lose badly to Oregon last week was a negative development for the program. And this game should go a long way toward showing where they really are this season, as this looks like a really tough spot for the Cal Bears.
Hes no Jared Goff or Davis Webb, but Cal QB Ross Bowers hasnt been bad. He threw for 3 touchdowns against Oregon with no picks, despite throwing 6 in the previous 2 games. The sophomore is still getting his feet wet and the jump in difficulty has been stark, with the youngster facing some of the best teams in the country right at the beginning of his college playing career. He is coming along nicely, but will have his hands full with this defense. The run-game has gotten a boost from young Patrick Laird, who has taken over as the teams go-to back. Aerially, Vic Wharton, III. and Kanawai Noa have been Bowers two top favorite targets, with Jordan Veasy adding three touchdown grabs this season.
With those great offenses Cal has possessed, its been their defense that has prevented them from achieving really big things. While they are hardly what you would call a good defense, they are moving in the right direction under the stewardship of coach Wilcox. They were a big part of the wins over North Carolina and Ole Miss, which painted the Cal D in a decent light. But as they entered conference play against more-effervescent offenses, weve started to see some cracks developing. They were in the game against USC, but the Oregon game was a step back and this matchup looks problematic, as well. Someone other than tremendous linebacker Devante Downs will need to step up this week, especially in the pass-defense, where theyve been getting worse week after week.
Washington is knocking on the door of a top-five ranking and so far, they look to be a major contender in this conference and potentially beyond. They are giving up an average of just over ten points a game, while their offense is again a high-flying one under senior QB Jake Browning. They are averaging 40 points a game and its easy to see how that equation works in their favor. But they might be facing a more offensively-talented Cal team this week. Still, last season, Washington was all over Cal in a 66-27 wipeout.
Browning is a top commodity among college quarterbacks, a realistic Heisman candidate who is completing over 71% of his passes, while making full use of a stocked offense. After a slow start to the season, running back Myles Gaskin is averaging over 7 yards a carry and has rushed for 6 touchdowns, while catching two more. Aerially, the loss of deep threat Chico McClatcher has hurt and they now look for someone to take the top off the defense. But Dante Pettis, Hunter Bryant, and Will Dissly will try to pick up the slack. Against Oregon State, Pettis caught twelve balls. With the losses in the offseason and McClatcher going down, Browning will need to cultivate additional weapons to carry the Huskies to big things this season. He has done well, but Browning still hasnt really hit his stride yet this season and after throwing 6 touchdowns against Cal last year, we could see some bigger things this week.
The Huskies defense has been tough this season, albeit against a group of teams that dont have great offenses. Junior corner Jordan Miller has two picks, as it was important to restock a secondary that sent a bunch of talent to the NFL. LB Ben Burr-Kirven has been a force in the middle. They are giving up just over 250 yards of offense per game. This game should be a good test, with Cal able to do things some of Washingtons early-season opponents have not been able to do.
I dont like the direction Cal is headed going into this matchup. They started well, but have regressed the past few weeks and now face a back-to-back conference road trip against the toughest team in the Pac-12. After consecutive road games, Washington is at home and could be shot out of a cannon against a Cal team that has lost some wind in their sails. Be that as it may, I see Cal being slightly more-robust defensively than last seasons unit that allowed Browning to throw 6 touchdowns, along with an offense that should keep them vaguely in the game. Im taking the Cal Bears.
Scott’sPick to Cover the Point Spread:Im betting on the California Golden Bears plus 27.5 points.
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