|Washington State DE/LB Travis Long has recorded 6.5 sacks this season. On Saturday, he'll be going up against a Cal offense that's surrendered the most sacks in the country. (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Spread: Cal by 7.5
Watchability: If your cable stops working Saturday and the Pac-12 Network is the only channel that comes in, then by all means watch. Otherwise, there's not much reason to tune in unless you live in Berkeley or Pullman.
Shining Stars: Washington State: WR Marquess Wilson. The Cougars aren't exactly full of stars, but they do have Wilson. The WSU junior ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in receiving with 92.2 ypg. Wilson also finds the end zone often -- he has five receiving TDs. Only USC's Marqise Lee has more in the conference. Cal: WR Keenan Allen. Between Wilson and Allen, Saturday's game could turn into an air show. Allen has 12 catches and three touchdowns in the Bears' last two games. He's going to be a tough matchup for a WSU pass defense that ranks 11th in the Pac-12.
Who could steal the show: Washington State: DE/LB Travis Long. Opposing offensive lines have had a difficult time blocking Long. The senior end has racked up 6.5 sacks, which ranks second in the Pac-12. Long will probably be licking his chops Saturday going up against a Cal offense that's surrendered the most sacks in the country (28). Cal: QB Zach Maynard. Maynard had a breakout game in the Bears' 43-17 win over UCLA. He had five touchdowns (four pass, one rush) and threw for 295 yards. The senior QB could top those numbers in Pullman going up against a Washington State pass defense that surrenders 302.8 ypg, which ranks 118th in the country.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Call your travel agent and get to Pullman because it's Mike Leach Bobblehead Day. It's going to be cold and it's probably going to be wet, but you get to take home a mini-Mike Leach, which makes the trip worth it.
Magic number for Washington State: 3.17. The Cougars tally 3.17 sacks a game, which is good news for a WSU defense that will be going up against a Cal offense that has surrendered the most sacks in the country.
Magic number for Cal: 8. A win over Washington State on Saturday will be the Bears' eighth in a row over the Cougars. Cal hasn't lost to Washington State since 2002. The Bears haven't lost in Pullman since 2001.
The game comes down to: Cal's defense. The Bears forced six turnovers against UCLA, and there's a chance they could equal that number against Washington State. Cougars QBs Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday have combined to throw 12 interceptions this season, the most of any team in the country. Also, WSU's 16 total turnovers are the most in the Pac-12.
Prediction: Cal 27, Washington State 20