The “Big Game” as it is known, had some of its air taken out last weekend when Oregon came into Stanford and likely ran the Cardinal out of the league title derby by way of a 53-30 victory. The loss dropped Stanford off the undefeated ranks and behind Oregon in the Pac-12 North Division. California comes in 6-4 overall while the Cardinal are now 9-1 on the season. The Golden Bears will still be looking at this game as the one that makes their season, while the Cardinal may come in suffering from a letdown after the Oregon defeat.
These two will now meet at Stanford Stadium with the home side a big -18 favorite with the posted total of 55.5 at BetDSI Sportsbook.
I am looking for California and their defense to come up big here in the ancient rivalry game between the two schools. The Bears defense has been so good at home and simply not very good on the road and it has held California from escaping mediocrity this season. If Cal can muster a decent pass rush, one of its strengths, I think they can at least keep superstar QB Andrew Luck in check as did Oregon and USC. While the Golden Bears lead the Pac-12 in total defense, they of course have yet to face Stanford. The offense of California has found its way into a decent running game and they have a few play makers who are capable of changing the course of a game, Stanford has been susceptible to the big play too. Look for TB Isi Sofele to have a big role today as his success takes pressure off QB Zach Maynard. Cal also has its sights on a bowl game so this game still means everything to them.
I expect Stanford to be a little off due to the Oregon loss and they won’t have the same intensity as traditional Stanford-Cal games but they still have a lot of skill. Winning their last two games will still have the Cardinal in a good spot for a BCS bowl game, so all is not lost. The Stanford offense is in the top-10 scoring and total offense, so when they have the ball they will move it, that is a given, but they lack a true big play offense and grind away at teams.
I like the dog California here as we have a solid defense, good running game, and an offense that can make big plays with the Golden Bears. Stanford is solid all around but I see Cal running well to keep the ball out of QB Luck’s hands, and their defense to get decent pressure on the Stanford QB. The Golden Bears can make big plays and I expect them to be a highly motivated group Saturday. Make it official, California Golden Bears +18 over Stanford Cardinal at BetDSI Sportsbook is my bet.