Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 3-1: This game will tell a lot about where we are at. Cal is an improved team, and has a good running game to go with their high-powered offense. Nevertheless, the Bears have shown that they are not Top 10-15 material. Washington has had a long time to tune up their offense. It has also been over one month since they have had reason to be electrified right from start at the opening kickoff. If the Huskies "have" to fight Cal tooth and nail all the way to the end, we will be relieved of the commonly-held (possible) illusion that we have superior talent to most everyone in the Pac-10. If instead, the Huskies come out smokin' and bury the Bears, we will know that the 85-scholarship rule hasn't yet fully eroded our talent advantage, after all.
I am going to guess that Cal will give us some moments of worry, but Washington's athletes on offense will be too much. Although the Dawgs won't bury the Bears, they will effectively keep them at arm's length all day.
PREDICTION: Washington 34, Cal 24
Andy Poehlman, Columnist. Record: 3-0: Well, after four games, what have we learned? We have learned that Cody is pretty good, E.T. is emerging and that is about it (we already knew that Reggie was really good). Can the Dawgs run the ball? Um, I don't really know. Can the Dawgs play defense? Um, I don't really know. What I do know is that if the Dawgs' D can't play more disciplined, this will be a long, long, long game for the Huskies. A good Cougar D could only hold this team to 38 points, and it took an extremely disciplined Air Force defense to keep Cal's offense to 21 points. I don't have the confidence in Washington's defense to play disciplined enough to get off the field consistently against Cal and I expect this one to be a track meet. However, I think that Cody has more guts than Cal QB Kyle Boller, and that will win the game for the Dawgs, despite a miserable performance by the defense.
Washington 38, Cal 34.
Joe Kaiser, Columnist: Record: 3-1: Every time Washington and California meet, the games are close but the Dawgs win and the streak lives on. There's no reason to expect anything different this year, despite a point spread that's hovered around 12 in Washington's favor all week. Look for both quarterbacks, Cody Pickett and Kyle Boller, to put up passing numbers in the 350-yard range. The key for the Huskies will be to stop senior tailback, Joe Igber, who's hurt the UW in the past. If that happens, the Huskies will win the time of possession battle and win in a close one at home. A fight to the finish, Dawgs make it 20 in a row despite Cal's best efforts.
Washington 35, Cal 32
Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 4-0: So, what in tarnation is wrong with those Montlake Malamutes, anyway? Only 2-2 against the point spread – and one of the THOSE was by a mere ½ point. Shameful. Absolutely shameful. If the late, great Secretariat can win the Belmont by 31, shouldn't Washington be winning by at least 45? Small, shifty RBs trouble Washington, and Igber has torn them up in the past. It's not Holmoe's offense anymore, it is Tedford's (re: Hard to Stop). I don't think the Husky offense is showing the whole playbook, though. It hasn't had to, given the opposition. California will certainly prepare for what they've seen on film, but I think there will be some wrinkles added this week – Gilby loves this sort of stuff. It would help the ol' points vs. yards ratio if they got some shorter fields, too. Considering that both offenses should be able to move the ball readily, that means getting some turnovers on defense and returns out of the kicking game – things that Cal (at least on paper) have done better. All of it points to a close, high-scoring affair. There will probably be at least one wacky score – and it might be the difference in the game.
Granted, hearing talk of complacency in the wake of three less-than-stellar opponents is a worrisome thing, and needs to be nipped right now. Well, there's nothing like using the conference opener for a pair of shears. But it won't be by 45 – it might not even be by five. It never is with Cal. But it will be entertaining.
Washington 44, Cal 36
Dawn Van Diest, Sports Washington. Record: 4-0: Well, the sparks will be flying this week, or at least the footballs will be. Prepare for the shootout at the OK (Montlake) Corral. With the two strongest arms in the Pac-10 slinging the entire game, there should be a lot of points on the scoreboard. Both Kyle Boller and Cody Pickett will be gunning for the 400-yard mark again and the Husky defense will have its hands full defending, shall I say, the Golden Bear version of the infamous "Quack Attack." The Huskies have to take better care of the ball, especially down in the red zone, now that the real season is underway.
Washington 42, Cal 35
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 3-1: Well we have arrived at the point in the season when games really mean something. A conference game against a foe, California, that has not beaten us in a long long time. It is not like they haven't tried. Heck they have lead by 2 TDs at some point in the last 3 games. You would think that the forces that be would look favorably down on Cal for once. Could it be this time? They are certainly coming in with a better attitude than in the past. Heck I think they even believe in themselves now. The Huskies will have to play a full game. No longer can they take a quarter or 2 off. I expect a shoot out of sorts. Much like the game Cal played last week against WSU. What worries me is the +2.2 turnover ratio for Cal, and the -0.5 for the DAWGs. UW needs to take care of the ball, and the D needs to stop people on 3rd downs more often.
UW 42 Cal 34.
Henry Han, Intern. Record: 3-1: So this is where everything counts now as conference play finally begins and the first one has the makings of an all-out aerial assault. Cal is coming off of a loss to WSU in a game that saw over 1,000 yards of offense. Cal QB Kyle Boller accounted for nearly 400 of those yards by himself. This will most likely be the best passing team the Huskies have seen thus far this season and it will be a test to the already heavily criticized defense. This Pickett guy we have isn't too shabby himself. Until I see anything that indicates otherwise, Pickett will have another big game on Saturday. Cal head honcho Jeff Tedford has done a decent job in restoring the confidence back to a program that has not had much success recently and the Bears have responded by playing tough all year. However, playing tough does not always mean being at top when the game is over. Cal will play tough in Seattle, but will not come away with a win this time either.
Prediction: Washington 42, Cal 24
Edwin Kim, Intern. Record: 2-0: I doubt there's anyone around who views things through as much of a Husky slant as I do. I feel like the Huskies are VERY close to being a great team, but that step is not an easy one to take. It's about discipline and making that extra bit of effort to be great. Some of these Huskies know this, others are stereotypical over-pampered jocks. The leaders of this team need to start kicking some butt and getting these kids organized. Now regardless of whether or not this happens I cannot pick the Cal Bears to beat the Washington Huskies. I also cannot pick the Washington Huskies to blow out the Cal Bears. In the time I've been a student here I've seen (or heard last year) the Bears give the Dawgs absolute fits. This year's Cal team can score...so can this year's Huskies. This year's Huskies will score more. It's not a knock on our defense, I just know that the Bears are too efficient to be kept off the board. They are great in turnover margin.
UW 45 - Cal 31
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 4-0 Both passing offenses are in the top-5 statistically in the conference. Both passing defenses are in the bottom-5. Both rushing offenses are in the bottom-5, but the Dawgs lead the conference in rush defense. A paper tiger? More than likely. But if they can keep Joe Igber from racking up 100 yard and force Kyle Boller to pass in 3rd-and-long situations, they should be OK. Winning the battle of third down is going to be key for the Dawgs, as it has been all year. Jeff Tedford will throw the kitchen sink at this defense, and they will need to play their best assignment football of the year. If they can control their emotions and focus past the trickeration (yes, that is a word now. Thank our fearless leader.), they should be able to slow the Bears down like they slowed down San Jose State. Is this the game Kenny James is unleashed as the Huskies' secret weapon running the ball? Only Rich Alexis' ankle and Braxton Cleman's hamstring know that for sure. Expect Rich to play, but Chris Singleton will need to step up regardless. He'll have to show that he can catch the ball as effectively as Alexis has shown. The crowd will need to bring their 'A' game to get conference play off to a good start, and Washington will need to fend off another good start by the Bears.
Washington 35 - Cal 27.
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 3-1: Who's House?
Look for this to be and aerial circus with Pickett and Boller going nuts. However, Pickett will hold the edge, as he just doesn't lose in Husky Stadium. Who's House???
Washington 49 - Cal 31.
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 4-0: Want offense? Show up on Saturday. These two teams can put points on the board, flat out. Jeff Tedford's offense was never fun to defend when he was coordinating for Mike Bellotti's Ducks, and he is even less fun as the Cal headman. Kyle Boller looks like he's reaching his potential and he found SEVEN different receivers against WSU. They'll move the ball on the Huskies, but if the Dawgs can avoid red zone woes, the guys in Purple will score too many points. Cody Pickett is well on his way to being the top quarterback in the country and Cal's defense won't be enough to stop his next step - another 400-yard passing game.
Washington 44, Cal 34
To read last week's predictions against Idaho, CLICK HERE.
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