There shouldn’t be much to question here. The Huskies should roll Cal.
But, of course, there is much to question after UW’s debacle at Arizona State last week.
Who will start at quarterback for the Huskies?
Who will start at quarterback for Cal?
And, regardless of who starts at quarterback for the Huskies, can they move the ball again? Can they get Bishop Sankey going? Can the offensive line respond after last week’s “abomination” at ASU? Can the defense make tackles and stay off the field?
The bottom line: For as bad as the Huskies were at Arizona State last week, Cal has been about as bad for most of the season, in part because of numerous injuries that have obliterated its defense. The Bears come into the game ranked 123rd out of 125 FBS teams in total defense, allowing 525 yards per game.
The game, of course, has been overshadowed this week by the passing of legendary coach Don James. Even Cal is making a classy tribute with “DJ” decals on its players’ helmets. The Huskies will wear similar decals, and there will surely be touching, emotional tributes from UW throughout the night.
James lost his first two games against Cal: 27-24 at Berkeley in 1975, and 7-0 at Husky Stadium in 1976. After that, James’ teams beat the Bears 12 straight times (as part of a streak of 19 in a row for UW over Cal from 1977 to 2001).
In James’ final season, the No. 1 Huskies beat Keith Gilbertson’s 24th-ranked Cal club 35-16 before 73,504 at Husky Stadium on Oct. 10, 1992.
The pick: Washington 35, California 16.
Around the Pac-12:
— UCLA at Oregon: The past couple years, the Ducks have had one letdown at home. Two years ago, it was USC. Last year it was Stanford. Could UCLA, with ESPN’s “College GameDay” in town, be the one to head into Eugene and knock off the Ducks? Sorry, not with eight true freshmen starting for the Bruins. The pick: Oregon 49, UCLA 28.
— Stanford at Oregon State: Giant killers? Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks have emerged as the perhaps the best quarterback-receiver combo in the country. But Stanford seemed to regain its steam last week against UCLA. An upset pick is tempting … but we’re not sold on the OSU defense. The pick: Stanford 35, Oregon State 31.
— Arizona at Colorado: Ka’Deem Carey just seems to get better and better each week. By the end of this one, he’ll be giving Ralphie the Buffalo running tips. The pick: Arizona 42, Colorado 24.
— Utah at USC: Both teams are dealing with a lot of injury concerns, so it’s hard to get a feel for this one. Let’s stick with USC at home in an ugly one. The pick: USC 21, Utah 20.