Cal and Utah the “Big One” in Salt Lake City with ESPN College Game Day. Hard to believe. No one predicted that the last 2 undefeated teams in the P12 would be these in a showdown between the leaders of the Norris and Prince of Wales divisions.
Statistically the teams look similar, but Goff, Lawler and the rest of the receiving corps (15 TD, 4 INT) are a cut above Travis Wilson (4 TD, 1 INT) whose performances over the years have been inconsistent to say the least. Wilson has also been injury prone and is playing with an injured non-throwing shoulder which could be a factor if he decides to take off and run more than a few times. Cal has to continue their defensive roll – leading the country in forced turnovers (18) and the P12 in sacks (3.6/game). Bottom line: Cal D-line has to get to Wilson and Cal O-line has to protect Goff just enough to get the quick throws off.
Some analysts say that you can’t take Cal seriously because of their late escapes against UText, UWash and UZoo, but great teams find a way to win and that’s exactly the difference between this Cal team and previous pretenders. I don’t know what Dykes and his staff has done this year but the team mantra must be “Yes, we can!” The comeback against the Zoo was impressive as they had composed a specific defensive scheme just to confuse and slow down Goff and that resulted in Goff passing for only 390 yards and 4 TDs. Goff has over 3 times the yardage and touchdowns compared to Wilson, Lawler continues to be one of the most productive receivers in the country, and the running backs are starting show their potential as the O-line starts to mature.
Vegas has Ooooots by 7.5 and I’m not buying what they’re selling. Expect Cal to start hot and fast, build up an early lead and then hold on for dear life as the defense kicks in to harass Wilson and Booker during comeback time. Cal by 7.
In other P12 action, both UWash and USck are stuck at 3-2 after the Dawgs shut down the Coliseum.
Both the ‘cats and the ‘ucks are at home and try to put the pieces back together against OState and WState. Literally anything could happen in either of those games given the history of the P12 this year. 8 teams now have 2 losses with only ‘cla and ‘furd with 1 loss. ‘furd faces ‘cla next week with a lot on the line.