Cal has been terrible and Washington hasn't lost to the Golden Bears in a quarter of a century. That sounds like a terrible combination and one that is fraught with potential pitfalls. Here is how we see the match up tomorrow in Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California.
Staff Predictions for Washington vs. California
Derek Johnson, Columnist
- My life reaches a pivotal point this Saturday in Berkeley, as the lady in my life is going to be attending her first-ever college football game. I have prepared her as best I can. Four months ago, I bought her a book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Football".
Overall, she has a good grasp of the terms, such as "defensive back" and "line of scrimmage". However, there still are areas of concern (she refers to goalposts as "those fork-like things at each end of the field"). I am looking for the football gods to be kind here. I am looking of course to indoctrinate this lovely young lady into the wonderful world of College Football to the very best of my ability. A total Husky blowout this Saturday would probably not help the cause, nor would a California victory. (she has yet to see me in a state of forlorn anguish, in the wake of a type of difficult Husky loss that comes around ever 3-4 years, i.e. - the likes of the 1998 Arizona game). No sir, the best-case scenario would be a close, competitive match, with momentum switching back and forth a few times, before Washington erupts for 35 fourth quarter points to put the game away, as the Husky band plays "Tequila!" and the Bear faithful file solemnly out of the stadium. Yesterday, a poster on CyberBears.org stated that "if you want to know the type of competition we'll be seeing this Saturday, just think 2,000 years ago - Lions vs. Christians". I am a bit more optimistic than he, that a competitive game will take place. Given that I am (literally) going tango dancing in San Jose on Friday night, let's allow that the Rose stem that I will be clenching between my teeth, will carry with it some end-of-season symbolism....
Washington 30, California 24
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations & Photography
- Look for the Dawgs to pounce on Cal early and often. Cody will put up huge numbers in the first half.
Washington 48, California 17
Rick Samek, Columnist
- This game has a lot of "funniness" in its feel. While true that the Cal defense has been as porous as a Mount St. Helens ashtray, it still - physically - represents a step up from Idaho's defense, no matter what the rankings say (Cal basically mailed in the second half of their last two losses, allowing scads of big plays without a single turf stain). And unlike Idaho, who clearly didn't have the athletes and lost even fleeting hope when John Welsh had to leave so early, these angry Bears DO have capable athletes and will come out, pardon the pun, loaded for Bear. It will be important for Washington to get past Cal's early emotion and get them to deflate again. Cal has started their last two games out pretty well, and they will no doubt be shown tapes of their first three quarters at Husky Stadium last year (where Cal clearly owned the play). Never mind the X's and O's, the Bear psyche - and the Huskies' ability to play their own solid, calculated game and not get caught up in it - may have everything to do with the outcome. "Pride" will definitely be Cal's cry this week. But it's been too easy for Cal to wave the white flag so far, and my uneducated guess is that it will take more than one week to turn that disturbing trend around.
Washington 34, Califorina 17
Chris Fetters, Editor-in-chief
- The Dawgs put their current 18-game series win streak on the line in Berkeley, and the Golden Bears have been chipping away at that streak for the past three years, only to be turned back at the last minute by some Washington histrionics. Does that presume another hard-fought battle in Strawberry Canyon on Saturday? There's about as much chance of that happening as the Grateful Dead reforming and playing a 15-show run at the Greek Theatre. Garcia's dead, remember? Looking at the Bears' defensive numbers is pause for comic relief; 111th (out of 115 D1 teams) in pass efficiency defense, 114th in turnover margin, 113th in scoring defense, dead last in the country in pass defense, and 109th in total defense. Sounds like just the thing for a Husky offense that needs some confidence in the red zone, but unfortunately for the Dawgs, they'll be without TE Jerramy Stevens and tailbacks Willie Hurst and Braxton Cleman. That means that true freshman Chris Singleton is just one player away (Rich Alexis) from seeing some serious playing time for the Huskies, much in the same way Terrell Williams is if Cal RB Joe Igber's ankle continues to give him problems. All this seems to be leading to both quarterbacks throwing the ball until their arms fall off. In that scenario, UW wins in a landslide. In fact, in any scenario, UW wins in a landslide.
Washington 45, California 7
Pat Thrapp, Columnist
- At the beginning of this season I was worried about this game. I kind of had the inkling this year's version of the Bears would be better than the last. Add to that the fact the last two games with UW have been dramatic to say the least. Just looking at the stats for this year. One would think this should be a blow out, and it very well may be. Cal is terrible in pass defense. Add to that the fact the DAWGs are a good-looking team when passing. The Bears have been horrendous in turning over the ball. Yet on the other hand UW is one of the most opportunistic teams out there. I got to say the Huskies should and will chew the stuffing out of this Cal Bear team.
Washington 43, California 20
Cam Stevens, Columnist
- Last week's game against Idaho showed a team with a level of speed and athleticism that I haven't seen in a long time. And Cal's playing dreadfully, so this should be a blowout, right? I don't have the feeling that it will be. I think Cal fights for their lives and Tom Holmoe's job, and gives the Dawgs all the battle they could possibly want. The streak will still continue, though. Big pass plays and some good runs from Alexis and others will provide the edge. Huskies 31, Cal 17.
Washington 31, California 17
Joe Kaiser, Husky Beat Writer
- The last time Cal beat Washington was four years before I was even born. 25 years and 18 straight wins later, the Huskies again find themselves as two-touchdown favorites for this weekend's game against the Golden Bears. The Dawgs are fighting the injury bug, but their makeshift offense will still be able to move the ball against the soft California defense. Rich Alexis will start, but look for freshman Chris Singleton to get a lot of carries as well - quite possibly just as many as Alexis. This will be the game that Cody Pickett throws for his first collegiate touchdown pass, taking advantage of the horrid Cal secondary. He'll throw for over 250 yards and look for Reggie Williams all day long. The Bears and junior quarterback Kyle Boller will have a difficult time moving the ball against the smothering Husky defense, especially with star running back Joe Igber's health in question. The Dawgs will leave Berkeley with another W.
Washington 51, California 17
Dave Samek, Dawgman
- OK. As I recall, the last time the Bears won "Star Jeans" were in, fondue sets were just being put back on the shelf, and shag carpeting was still an option if you bought a Chevy van. It's been quite some time. Washington limps into this game without perhaps the best TE in the conference, without two senior tailbacks, and without their backup defensive end. Will it make a difference? Probably not. Cal gets Joe Igber back and he's been trouble for the Huskies, but this year's defense has been shoring up and the new linebackers are getting proper angles and have tackled better recently according to Tim Hundley. I just don't see Cal able to straighten out their aim enough to miss their feet again, and Reggie Williams is just dying to find the endzone. He'll do that tomorrow. Twice.
Washington 34, California 13