Arizona (4-3, 2-1 overall) is a three-point favorite over the Bears (4-3, 1-3) as this article was published and has won the past three meetings.
In general, Arizona-Cal games are decided by one possession, as 22 of 33 games in this series have been decided by eight or fewer points.
So what do we think will happen Saturday? Here are our predictions. Be sure to make yours in the comment section below.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 38-27
I know Cal hammered Washington State last week, but I think this is a good matchup for Arizona assuming Khalil Tate doesn’t regress greatly.
The Wildcats’ biggest problem lately is keeping the other team off the scoreboard, and in this case, Cal’s offense is pretty unimpressive.
S&P+ ratings peg Cal as the 104th offense in the country. Yes, they scored 37 points against WSU, but that’s because the Cougars turned the ball over seven times. The Golden Bears only had 365 yards in the game.
The key for Arizona will be taking care of the football and winning the turnover battle, which they’ve done really well the last two weeks.
I do think this game will close for most of the game, though, since Arizona-Cal games seem to always go down to the wire.
Gabe Encinas - Arizona wins 42-35
For the second week in a row, I like Arizona to win, putting them at 3-1 in Pac-12 play and just one win away from bowl eligibility
This team just looks completely rejuvenated with Khalil Tate at the helm. While the defense has taken a stop back since he has taken over, it has still been generating pressure and turnovers.
Cal’s win against Wazzu was impressive, but I’m thinking that’s just a one-off upset win, not necessarily a statement win proclaiming Cal’s turnaround.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 42-21
Cal’s had a lovely first year turnaround under Coach Justin Wilcox, including last week’s 37-7 thumping of Washington State. That said, Arizona’s humming right now on both sides of the ball (not to mention, you know, that Tate fella).
Expect a track meet for 30 minutes or so, before Tate chucks one or two deep balls that smash the Bears’ hopes, and help Arizona cruise to their third straight win.
Cal’s run defense isn’t terrible, ranking sixth in the Pac-12, giving up an average of 151.1 yards per game, but I don’t see them having the depth on the defensive side of the ball to keep the newfound tandem of Tate and Nick Wilson in check.
Jason Bartel — Arizona wins 47-34
I expect this game to be more of the same. The thing that concerns me is how easily Cal was able to get to Luke Falk last week against arguably the best offensive line in the conference, but I’ll just assume all of Arizona’s running backs can take care of that issue by themselves.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 49-35
I don’t think the Golden Bears will be able to stop the well-oiled machine that is the Arizona office with Khalil Tate at the helm.
Cal’s offense has been inconsistent as well and the defense has been clicking and bounced back well against UCLA.
Tate and the tandem of Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor will be too much for Cal to handle and I’m not so sure they have the defensive depth to rotate in enough players.