Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#195 Washington State -7.5 vs.
#196 California 51
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#195 Washington State University
#196 University of California, Berkeley
4-4
4-4
3-5
3-5
4-4
1-7
41
17
29
20

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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: November 9, 2019, Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA, 7:00 PM ET

A Pac-12 Conference showdown between the Washington State Cougars and California Golden Bears will be spotlighted in primetime on Saturday night. These last five weeks have been equally as horrendous for both teams. The Cougars have lost four of their last five games, including a heartbreaking loss at home to No. 11 Oregon. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears lost their fourth consecutive game in a 35-0 shutout loss to Utah.

Can the Cougars drown the Bears with offense?

The only path to victory for the Golden Bears is a virtuoso defensive performance and turning this game into a dog fight. Quite the contrary, the Cougars will be looking to jump out to an early lead and force California out of their shell and into comeback mode. That’s when they can lull them into making mistakes with an offense that isn’t built to play from behind.

With starting quarterback Chase Garbers expected to miss Saturday’s game, backup Spencer Brasch could be behind center again. The Cougars don’t have a great defense by any stretch, but they should be encouraged with the thought of facing a freshman quarterback that hasn’t thrown for more than 47 yards in two outings.

Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon will undoubtedly face some resistance against a California defense that ranks fourth in the conference. However, they are also nothing like the dominant unit the Cougars faced when going head-to-head with Utah a few weeks ago. The Cougars are averaging 41.8 points per game and 521.9 yards of total offense. They don’t have to have a huge offensive performance to win this game. All it takes is a few scores to take the Golden Bears out and drown them in deep waters.

The team will once again be without receiver Jamire Calvin, who is officially done for the season with a foot injury, according to head coach Mike Leach. Calvin was reportedly confirmed on Monday as the team’s redshirt option.

Defense-or-bust for the Bears

California’s 35-0 loss to Utah was about as brutal of an offensive performance as you will ever witness. Brasch went 7-of-19 passing for 47 yards, culminating into a 36.8 completion percentage and 39.2 QBR. The team as a whole was held to 83 yards of total offense.

Ouch.

Things could get somewhat better for Saturday’s game against a vulnerable Washington State defense with quarterback Devon Modster potentially returning after missing the game against Utah with an undisclosed injury. While he isn’t Garbers, he does at least boast a decent enough arm to get the offense moving. He’ll have to play with his head on fire to keep pace with Washington State’s offense.

California is stout on defense, but they’ll run into a brick wall of an offensive line that won’t even let defenders close enough to smell Gordon’s cologne. No pressure up front could mean big problems for California’s pass defense. It doesn’t matter how well they’ve played throughout the season if Gordon has ample time to throw in the pocket. Guys are going to eventually get open.

The Golden Bears will be without leading receiver Nikko Remigio, who could be out indefinitely with an injury. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins and offensive lineman Michael Saffell are also listed as questionable for Saturday’s game.

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Garbers isn’t returning on Saturday, and the Cougars will be left with the sad choice of rolling with Modster or Brasch as their starter. It really doesn’t matter who is behind center because neither quarterback boasts the offensive presence to keep pace with a Cougars team that recently gave Oregon all they could handle.

Even if California’s defense shows up on Saturday, they’ll be worn out from being on the field for so long they ultimately lose their effectiveness. The offense simply lacks the firepower to compete in games like this, and the defense can’t hold up forever. It’ll be tough for pass rushers to get to Gordon in the backfield, which should open all sorts of passing opportunities on the field.

The senior quarterback has thrown for 3,387 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions. So he isn’t afraid to challenge California’s defensive backs by airing the ball out. Washington State wideout Easop Winston already has nine touchdowns on the season, and he has a strong likelihood of extending that number to double digits on Saturday. I’m taking the Cougars to pile on the hurt for the Golden Bears by handing them a fifth straight loss.

Prediction: Washington State Cougars (-7.5)

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Even with the Cougars’ myriad of defensive problems, they should still be able to stand strong against the Golden Bears with one of their backup quarterbacks behind center. The offense has looked far worse than it did at the start of the season, and the loss of Remigio is basically a checkmate for a dumpster fire. However, the defense will do its part to keep things from sinking into complete humiliation. Give me the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (51.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.