GJB: If Cal beats UCLA, does that put them back in the race for the Pac-12 North?
Attila LS Gero: I would absolutely put them back in the race for the North. If they can win out the rest of the season and claim at least one upset wins over Washington or Stanford, it would seal their chances.
Berkelium97: If we had come out of Tuscon with a win, I’d say we had a narrow, outside shot at the North. But now I think there is no chance whatsoever. In addition to having two conference losses already, this team has made it abundantly clear that it cannot currently operate with the consistency necessary to compete for the division. The only thing a win on Saturday will put us in contention for is bowl eligibility—and even that will be a slog when we face our November schedule.
Joshua Morgan: I do not think so. I think with two losses before even playing Colorado, Stanford, or Washington, we are already out. However, I do think that a win here could put us back on the right track for making a bowl game, whereas a loss would basically end all bowl hopes.
boomtho: Sadly, I think we’re clearly a step behind UW, Oregon, and Stanford—if not more.
GJB: What is your prediction for the game?
Attila LS Gero: Score Prediction: 42–27 Cal wins behind Patrick Lairds biggest career rushing total (which would have to be over 214 yards).
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Berkelium97: If the Cal team from the first three games shows up, the Bears will largely suffocate the Bruins offense and force a couple turnovers to help Cal build something like a 17–3 or 21–3 lead. And then we’ll probably allow this to fall back into a one-score game late in the fourth, just to add some unnecessary anxiety before holding onto the win (that exact scenario unfolded against UNC and BYU). If the Cal team from last week shows up, we can win 35–7 if we don’t turn the ball over (please contain your laughter). But if we continue to turn the ball over at this rate, the Cal offense will amass 400+ yards but only score a couple TDs, the defense will allow a single TD, and the UCLA defense will score a TD or two. So the game ends 21–20 with someone claiming victory. Who that someone is depends entirely on who wins the turnover battle.
Joshua Morgan: I think (or hope) that Cal’s offense will at the very least play more conservatively and hopefully that can result in us being able to reduce the number of turnovers committed. I think that if we are in fact successful in taking care of the ball, Cal will easily win this game. If Cal fails to do so, this game could get close very fast. My overall prediction is that Cal’s offense protects the ball just enough to take care of business and come out with a 27–21 win.
boomtho: I think UCLA wins, but I really attribute that to years of Chip Kelly just running through Cal defenses. I don’t think I can be fully objective and logical about this!