(Written by kencraw)
What everyone wants to talk about when previewing a Cal-WSU game is high scores. But what those people seem to forget is that 2 of the 3 Leach-Dykes matchups had cumulative scores in the 60’s, that I suspect the under won, not the over. Yes, yes, 2 years ago the score was 60-59, we all know that. But last year it was a more comfortable than the score indicates 34-28 Bears victory.
And if you look at the history not just of Cal-WSU but of most teams with high-scoring offenses that are of a similar nature, when they meet, on average the scores tend to be lower. Why? Because the defenses are very comfortable defending it. They saw that offense (or something very similar) for all of Spring and Fall practice.
The problem with 2014 was that both teams had horrible defenses, and that overwhelmed the usual pattern.
Which brings us to this year. Do both teams have a horrible defense? No, only one does. WSU’s defense is getting better every week and although it would be a mistake to overstate how good their defense is, it’s much, much, MUCH better than Cal’s.
Cal’s only hope, is that their defense has an unusually good showing. And as I said already, going up against this familiar offense does make that more likely. But unfortunately, the injury situation is so untenable, that I just don’t see it happening. I was tempted to believe it was possible considering the larger problem this year has been rush defense, and WSU gives the Bears a bit of a break in this department. But as loss to the Huskies showed, the injuries are plaguing the secondary even more so than the run defense. So, the more I look at who is hurt and who’s replacing them, I just can’t believe this defense will have success.
And sadly, I do see it happening for WSU. So as much as my heart believes Cal has a better shot at this than most people think, my head and my official prediction has to be that Cal loses a really, really tough one to take: Cal 31, WSU 59.