|If USC quarterback Matt Barkley couldn't beat Oregon, does Cal backup QB Allan Bridgford have a chance on Saturday? (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Spread: Oregon by 28
Watchability: Since Chip Kelly arrived at Oregon in 2007, the Ducks' kryptonite has been Berkeley, Calif., where the team has scored only 15 and 16 points in two trips. We're not saying there's going to be an upset, but you might want to tune in to the first quarter just to make sure.
Shining Stars: Oregon -- RB Kenjon Barner. Barner is the nation's second-leading rusher and Cal will need to do everything it can to slow him down. However, the problem with playing Oregon is that if you slow one guy down, five other guys step up. Cal -- WR Chris Harper. Cal has a few stars, but with Keenan Allen out, none of them are exactly shining. Harper has caught 18 passes for 269 yards in the Bears' last three games, but it's impossible to say if he'll have any chemistry with backup QB Allan Bridgford. Starting QB Zach Maynard (knee) hasn't practiced this week and is doubtful for Saturday, so its likely Bridgford will get the start. "It's totally dependent on how he's moving, what he feels like," coach Jeff Tedford said of Maynard.
Who could steal the show: Oregon -- CB Avery Patterson. Patterson is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3) and he might be able to pad that total against Cal. Patterson and the Ducks' secondary will most likely be going up against an inexperienced backup quarterback in Bridgford. Cal -- QB Bridgford. With Maynard still nursing an injured knee, all signs point to Bridgford starting on Saturday. If Bridgford were to somehow engineer an upset, he wouldn't just steal the show, he'd be the most popular person in Berkeley for years to come.
You going? Ranking the road trip: If you're an Oregon fan who has never been to Berkeley, this weekend might be the perfect time to go. With Cal struggling, expect to see a lot of Ducks fans at Memorial Stadium.
Magic number for Oregon: 54.3. The Ducks are the highest-scoring team in the nation, averaging 54.3 points per game. If they get anywhere near that number on Saturday, there's little chance that Cal is going to be able to keep up.
Magic number for Cal: 15.5. That's how many points Oregon has averaged in its last two trips to Berkeley. The Ducks have played 52 games since 2008 and Cal has held them to their third- and fourth-lowest scoring totals. Cal shutting down the Ducks' offense may sound impossible, but keep in mind, Oregon went into the 2010 game at Cal averaging 54.7 points per game and scored a season-low 15.
The game comes down to: Speed. Cal has some, Oregon has more. Cal's defensive speed has the potential to keep up with Oregon's offense, but not for an entire game. The Bears might be able to keep things close for a half, but look for the Ducks to run away with it eventually, like they seem to do in every game.
Prediction: Oregon 42, Cal 21