|Defensive tackle Will Sutton helps lead a defense that has recorded 14 sacks through four games, sixth-best nationally. (AP Images)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (FX)
Spread: Cal by 1.5
Watchability: Cal fans should tune in because if the Golden Bears lose game, you may not want to tune in the rest of the season. Arizona State fans should watch because the Sun Devils haven't won in Berkeley since 1997. Everyone else should tune in only if they have nothing else to do.
Shining Stars: Arizona State: QB Taylor Kelly. Kelly struggled in ASU's only loss, throwing for a season-low 178 yards along with two interceptions in the Sun Devils 24-20 setback to Missouri. However, he's been hot in Arizona State's other three games and if he's hot Saturday, it's hard to see the Sun Devils losing. Cal: RB Isi Sofele. Arizona State has the Pac-12's top passing defense, which means the Cal may have to go to its ground game. Sofele gashed the ASU defense for 145 yards in 2011, the Bears could use a similar performance from him in 2012.
Who could steal the show: Arizona State: TE Chris Coyle. Two weeks ago, Cal had problems covering Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner -- 3 catches, 44 yards, 2 TDs against the Bears -- and it won't be any easier with Coyle. ASU's junior TE is the team's leading receiver this season, averaging 5.5 catches and 75.3 yards per game. Cal: RB Brendan Bigelow. Bigelow has averaged a ridiculous 20.6 yards per carry this season, the only problem though is that he's only carried the ball 10 times. With the Bears in desperate need of a win, look for coach Jeff Tedford to give the sophomore speedster more than the four carries he got against both Ohio State and USC.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Arizona State fans may want plan a week's vacation around the Sun Devils' trip to Berkeley. It's a great college town with great restaurants, plus it's just a short drive away from Oakland and San Francisco. Also, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from Memorial Stadium, so you should probably bring a camera.
Magic number for Arizona State: 6. With 14 sacks this season, ASU ranks sixth nationally. That could spell trouble for a Cal offense that has surrendered 16 sacks this year, which ranls 122nd out of a 124 FBS teams.
Magic number for Cal: 8-1. Under coach Jeff Tedford, Cal has absolutely dominated Arizona State. Since Tedford took the program in 2002, the Bears have gone 8-1 against the Sun Devils, including four wins in a row.
The game comes down to: Desperation. Desperate times call for desperate measures and these are desperate times for Cal. If the Bears lose this game, they'll drop to 1-4 on the season with games still to play against No. 2 Oregon and No. 8 Stanford, making a bowl bid all but impossible. Expect Jeff Tedford and the Cal coaching staff to empty the playbook and pull out all stops needed to beat the Sun Devils.
Prediction: Cal 31, Arizona State 27