Another ranked opponent, another boatload of predictions for this week's Cal game.
– Cal at No. 13 USC, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Bears (1-2) did lots right on the road against Ohio State, but couldn’t finish the job. They say they are ready to eliminate the decisive mistakes, but USC (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) will be just as motivated after a stumble at Stanford. Plus, Cal hasn’t won in L.A. since Brendan Bigelow was a second-grader. USC 27, Cal 20.
Kevin Gemmell: The Bears showed a lot of heart in their loss to Ohio State. But they are getting a USC team that is salty and vengeful. The Trojans have owned Cal of late and I expect that to continue. Though the wide receiver talent that will be on the field -- Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, Keenan Allen -- is worth tuning in for. USC 28, Cal 14.
Ted Miller: There's a temptation to think the Stanford loss could double-dip USC, which might still be pouting. Cal certainly showed at Ohio State it can physically match a quality foe. But I suspect center Khaled Holmes will return for the Trojans, and that will give them a boost on the offensive line. And Matt Barkley will bounce back. USC 33, California 17.
CAL (plus-17) at USC: There’s zero evidence to suggest Cal has the personnel and mettle to exploit the Trojans’ weaknesses the way Stanford did. Just look at the 2009-11 results: Stanford beats USC, and USC dominates Cal (to the tune of a 108-26 combined score). But 17 points seems a tad much. Pick: Cal.
- ESPN has the results from three sets of simulations. TeamRankings has USC winning 37.9-20.9, numberFire has USC winning 33.1-20.9, and AccuScore has USC winning 38.1-25.4. Cal wins roughly 25% of the games in the AccuScore predictions.
- Athlon's writers each pick a double-digit USC victory.
Cal (+15.5) at USC USC, 31-17 USC, 30-20 USC, 38-20 USC, 38-14
- All seven CBS writers pick USC to win, although two pick Cal to cover the spread.
- Both Yahoo writers and a majority of their readers picked USC to win.
- Vegas settled on a 16-point spread with an over of 58.5. This translates to a 37-21 USC victory.
- Will Harris of ESPN goes through this week's possible upsets and picks Cal to upset USC 35-31. Any hope I had of Cal notching the upset has gone out the window now.
IfWhen we lose, we can all blame Harris for jinxing us and ruining everything.
After the jump we have the usual links. We also have a special bonus: video of Lane Kiffin's 28-second post-practice interview session with the media on Wendesday. His jimmies go from stable to rustled in about 4 seconds flat. If you want to watch the BYU-Boise State game, you can use this as the open thread. I'm instead going to watch that Lane Kiffin video on repeat until kickoff on Saturday.
- Keenan Allen is at 17th in this week's Big Board.
- Wilner has Cal at 9th in his Pac-12 power rankings.
- This weekend's Cal-USC matchup was supposed to be the lure to get DirecTV to come to an agreement with the Pac-12 Network. For now, it's all quiet on the western front.
- Coach Gould says Brendan Bigelow is beginning to become a complete running back. Bigelow will receiver more carries this week, but no one outside the coaching staff knows how many.
- CalBears.com is interviewing each of the team's new members. This week's Q+A is with Lexi Collins.
- A somewhat depleted Cal men's team took on the USTA Junior National team. The Bears won two of eight singles matches and one of three doubles matches.