A couple quick thoughts before the predictions:
- The big game related news today was that Cal’s phenomenal wide receiver Keenan Allen will miss the game and potentially the rest of the season with a knee injury. Allen is a huge threat and the focal point of Cal’s offense, so the loss should make the game much easier for the Husky defense. That aside, I’m kind of sad Allen will miss the game. I’ve written about him before, and he’s easily my favorite non-Husky in the Pac-12. He’s only a junior, but I can’t think of a player more likely to go pro. Maybe he’ll surprise everyone, but I’m hoping we next see him in a Seahawk uniform next fall.
- One of the biggest topics for discussion this week has been Husky fans rushing the field after Saturday’s win. A lot of fans thought a win over Oregon State is never worthy of rushing the field, no matter their ranking. I can understand that viewpoint, and I agree to some degree. But really, who cares? Most of the people on the field were students, and most of those students weren’t around when the Huskies were good and beat the Beavers with regularity. Being on the field is cool, and if people are excited enough about a Husky win that they feel the need to get down there, that’s great. Some day we’ll be back to the point where the only reasons to rush the field are going to the Rose Bowl or winning the national championship. Until then, the fans have to grow along with the team. As long as everything is safe, it’s just not a big deal.
- Most sports fans are superstitious. Most of us know that the superstitions mean nothing, but it doesn’t stop us from wearing the same shirt or underwear throughout a winning streak. My family has had lots of Husky superstitions over the years, from lucky shirts to hats to cheers. One year we were sure a poncho was lucky. Every time someone put the poncho on, the Dawgs started winning. Eventually, we had it spread across the couch while watching a game on TV. They lost that game, I think, although I did wear that poncho this past Saturday, so maybe it regained some magic. Anyway, KJR unveiled the Huskies ultimate lucky charm on the Husky Honks show yesterday: Dick Baird’s mustache. Evidently, he pledged to regrow it after the Arizona game, and now says it’s not coming off until January. We’ll see how it works, but I see no reason why this wouldn’t be the missing piece in the rebuilding.
Here’s the predictions!
There aren’t many things that are going against the Huskies going into their Friday night showdown in Berkley. They’re playing Cal, who was just dominated by a winless Pac-12 team. Cal is without their best player, Keenan Allen. The Huskies are coming off one of their better games of the season. The offensive line seems to be meshing at least a little more. This is the type of offense that the Husky defense has excelled against this season. Rumor has it, I’ll probably be watching this game with Dan and I can’t recall the last time the Huskies have lost when I watch a football game while being in his presence (knock on wood). With all of these things going for the Dawgs, how can they lose? Well, it’s a weird game, on a Friday night and Bigelow (of Cal) is starting to get going. Also, the Huskies haven’t won a game on the road in over a year. I can’t pick them in this game knowing that. I hope they’ll win but they haven’t shown enough consistency for me to predict a win.
Cal 27 – UW 21
The Huskies roll into Cal a four point underdog on the road. I take that line to mean the guys in Vegas were not too impressed with the Dawgs’ victory over then #7 ranked OSU. I’m not sure I agree, but then again, don’t ever bet against Vegas, you’ll most likely lose. Cal is coming off a road thrashing at the hands of the Utes of Utah, who last time I checked don’t exactly have a juggernaut offense, yet were able to score 49 on Cal. I haven’t been impressed with Cal all year. They have an incredible ability to NOT be able to get up for games. They’re stoic, detached from emotion for wide swaths of games. I don’t really see how Friday night will be any different. The Huskies come in with more to play for, and more to lose. I expect the UW coaches will be able to motivate and come up with a game plan that will work vs Cal, something Sark has done quite well over the past three seasons. The Huskies committed to run the ball last week and it worked. Ball control was key, as well as mitigating turnovers. If the Huskies can control the clock, run the ball, and win the turnover battle, I see no reason why they can’t win this game. Throw in the fact Keenan Allen will not be playing, and I like the Dawgs in a close one between mediocre football teams.
UW 24 – Cal 23
I hate predicting what these Huskies are going to do. They should win this game fairly easily. Cal is playing terribly, just lost their best player, and seems to have given up somewhat on the season. But the Huskies are on the road, so all bets are off. The hope is that the road woes are in large part due to quality of opponent and that the Huskies found a bit of attitude and character in the win over the Beavers. A key will be Cal QB Zack Maynard, who is incredibly inconsistent but capable of a solid performance on occasion. The Huskies need to get consistent pressure on Maynard. The Cal offensive line has given up the most sacks in the conference, so this is a great chance for the young Husky D-line to grow up a bit. Who knows if any of these things happen, but I’m betting the Huskies are finally ready to take a step forward. Two obstacles go down Friday as the Huskies get a road win and score more than 21 points against an FBS school for the first time this year.
UW 31 – Cal 17
There are 2 ways I can think of regarding tomorrow’s game. First, Cal just got thumped and ought to be desperate for a win (like UW last week), and the excitement of a Friday night game under the lights might propel them. On the other hand, it could be Cal just got thumped because they suck, Tedford is a lame duck coach, and without their best player tomorrow, UW has the advantage. I’m leaning towards the latter, not just because I’m hoping for the latter, but because I genuinely think the Huskies will win a low scoring game on Friday. There’s not a team in America that has been tested like the Huskies, who are finally through a 7 week stretch of 5 games vs. top 10 opponents (plus Arizona on the road). I expect an energized Husky team ready to win its first road game, and Keenan Allen’s absence really is the X factor in this one.
Huskies 20 – Cal 13