Game Week: Cal Facts and Factors

OCT. 14 -- UCLA has "The Berkeley Curse," having lost 7 straight dating back to 1998 at Cal...

UCLA travels to Berkeley to face California this Saturday, with the kickoff at 12:30 and the game televised by ABC/ESPN2.

• UCLA is 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Pac-12, while Cal is 4-2 and 2-2 in conference.

• UCLA fell out of the rankings this week after two straight losses, to Utah and Oregon. It’s the first time in 24 games – stretching back two years to October 27th, 2012 -- that UCLA hasn’t been ranked.

• Cal won its first two games, against Northwestern and Sacramento State, lost at Arizona State, then beat Colorado and Washington State before losing to Washington last week.

• You could make the case that Cal has had one of the most exciting seasons in college football so far, losing to ASU on a last-minute Hail Mary (49-45), beating Colorado in overtime (59-56) and then beating Washington State on a Hail Mary of its own (60-59).

• UCLA leads the all-time series with the Bears, 51-32-1, with the teams having split the last four meetings, and each winning on their home fields. UCLA does own a 22-20 advantage in games played at Cal, but the Bruins haven’t won in Berkeley since 1998. That’s seven straight losses in Berkeley to make up the “Berkeley Curse. “ The last time UCLA won at Cal Brett Hundley was five years old.

• UCLA won 18 straight meetings with the Bears dating from 1972 to 1989. Since then Cal has the advantage 13-10.

• The last meeting in Strawberry Canyon was in 2012, and it was one of the most demoralizing defeats of the Jim Mora era, with UCLA, freshly ranked at #25, getting beaten pretty soundly by the struggling Bears, 43-17.

• Cal’s winning record at the halfway point of this season is its first since 2009.

• Cal is coached by second-year head man Sonny Dykes. Dykes (44) had a nightmare first season in 2012 at Cal, going 1-11 overall and 0-9 in conference. He achieved the dubious distinction of being the first head coach in Cal’s history to fail to beat a D-1 (or FBS) opponent in a season (that lasted at least five games). Dykes came from Louisiana Tech, where he had success over three seasons with the Bulldogs, and was an offensive coordinator at Arizona and Texas Tech before that. Mike Leach made the Air Raid offense famous at Texas Tech, and Dykes learned that brand of attack by first being Texas Tech’s receivers coach, and then taking over the Texas Tech OC position. There have been some doubters of whether a coach originally from Texas, with a strongly Texas staff, could be successful at Cal. The Bears have clearly shown improvement in Dykes’ second season, but after last week’s poor performance at home against Washington, the Bear faithful are afraid of a second-half-of-the-season collapse. After playing UCLA this Saturday, the Bears have Oregon in Berkeley, are at Oregon State and at USC, are home against Stanford and then play non-conference opponent BYU in Berkeley.

• UCLA has won its last six games played away from the Rose Bowl, which is the longest streak of its kind for UCLA since 1997-1998 (10).

• UCLA is 10-4 in true road games under Mora.

• Brett Hundley has the potential to set some UCLA records this season. His current completion percentage is .722, which is better than the all-time school record set by the UCLA coach that originally recruited him, Rick Neuheisel of .693 in 1983.

• Hundley is now second on the list of career rushing yards for quarterbacks at UCLA. Hundley has a total of 1,314 rushing yards, second to John Sciarra (1972-75), who is the school’s quarterback career rushing leader with 1,813 yards. Hundley moved past UCLA’s Heisman Trophy winner, Gary Beban, (1,271) during the Oregon game.

• Hundley is currently third on the list of all-time UCLA passing leaders. He has 8,337 career passing yards, just 195 behind second-place Drew Olson (2002-2005). First on the list is Cade McNown (1995-98) with 10,708, which makes Hundley 2,372 yards shy of the mark. If you take away the Texas game, in which he got injured, he’s averaging 295.6 yards per game this season, but at that rate he would fall short of McNown’s record by 303 yards. He’d have to average 338 yards passing per game the rest of the season to break the record.

• UCLA had two consecutive losses last season, with Oregon being the second loss in that sequence also. The Bruins then went on to win 5 of the last 6 games for 2013.

• UCLA is currently favored by 7 points.

• The weather forecast calls for a partly cloudy day and a high of 71 degrees on Saturday in Berkeley.

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