Despite Stanford's 1.5-point advantage in Vegas, most of this week's predictions give Cal a narrow victory.
STANFORD (minus-1.5) at CAL: Tough to call rivalry games anytime but especially in mid-October, with both teams still works in progress. I picked Cal to win outright before the season and will stick with the prediction. The Bears lost by three points last year at Stanford, against Andrew Luck. Their prospects this time around are at least as bright. Pick: Cal.
– No. 22 Stanford at Cal, noon (Fox): The Bears (3-4, 2-2) have momentum, home-field advantage, more speed, a red-hot Keenan Allen and buckets of motivation. Stanford (4-2, 2-1) has scored just 13 points in each of its past two road games — both losses. So it’s tempting to pick the Bears. But football usually comes down to line play, and the Cardinal may have the edge on both sides of the ball. Stanford 27, Cal 24.
Kevin Gemmell: For as bad as Stanford's offense has been on the road, the defense has been pretty darn good. Cal has a two-game win streak, and a win would bring it back into bowl contention. I really am split on this, and when that happens, lean toward the home team. Cal 24, Stanford 17.
Ted Miller: I'm with Kevin. I think the Bears will get a big win for coach Jeff Tedford. I suspect Stanford, after last week's emotional loss -- and physical game -- will be flat, big game or not. Cal 20, Stanford 17.
Stanford 25.4, Cal 22.7
||Stanford 22.8, Cal 21.1||
Stanford 29.7, Cal 23.4
The game comes down to: Quarterback play. If Nunes and Maynard were playing darts on Saturday, everyone in Berkeley would take cover. That's the way the season has gone for both Bay Area quarterbacks. Both Nunes and Maynard have had games where each of their QB ratings were over 170 this year, but they've also both had two games each where their ratings were below 87. Maynard's been slightly more consistent than Nunes this season, so Cal gets a very, very slight edge.
Prediction: Cal 23, Stanford 20
The Big Game which used to be the final game of the regular season but last year it was Stanford’s second-to-last game and this year makes the move to October. Last year’s game was played on a rain soaked field and Luck hit 20-30-257 yards while Maynard actually out-passed him with 280. Trailing 31-21, Cal went 74/10pl for a td with :14 left but Stanford recovered the onside kick. Cal had a 7-1 run from ‘02-’09 but SU has won the last two. SU is on the second of back-to-back away off a tough 20-13 OT loss at ND . The last time here SU handed Cal its worst loss in this rivalry since 1930. The Bears are off back-to-back impressive wins and playing with renewed confidence while the Cardinal HC Shaw and players found themselves questioning the officials in last week’s game and need to regroup.PHIL’S FORECAST: CALIFORNIA 23 STANFORD 20
- Keep liking those Cal Alumni Association photos on the CAA Facebook page. If you don't the Lobsterbacks win and baby Oski cries.
- Athlon previews the Big Game.
- Jon Wilner says this year's Big Game especially important because it will shape each team's trajectory in the second half of the season.
- Cal sits at 8th in Wilner's latest Pac-12 power rankings.
- Wilner predicts a 6-6 finish for the Bears and an appearance in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
- ESPN Pac-12 blog revisits its ultimate road trip and makes some minor itinerary changes.
- Emily Kruger was named the Pac-12 Defender of the Week. The junior goalkeeper blocked six shots to preserve a shutout win over ASU.