California Golden Bears (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12) at Washington Huskies (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12), 8:00 p.m. PT
The California Golden Bear football program has had better weeks. As if it weren't bad enough that Cal fell to 1-6 after last Saturday's 49-17 home loss to Oregon State, the program was embarrassed by the revelation on Thursday that it has the worst graduation success rate (44 percent) in the NCAA FBS for freshmen enrolling from 2003-2006. On top of that, Cal found itself in the midst of a quarterback controversy. The competition was rekindled between Jared Goff and Zach Kline, with the coaching staff deciding on Friday to start Goff against Huskies tonight. If the comment thread on this site following that announcement is any indication, the decision to start Goff was, shall we say, unpopular.
After all of that, it is time to play a game tonight. Cal goes into newly revamped Husky Stadium to take on a Washington team that is desperate for a victory to right its ship. Just a few weeks ago, Washington was 4-0 and approaching a Pac-12 North showdown game at Stanford. The Huskies ended up losing a hard fought game to Stanford and have followed that up with two more losses to Oregon and Arizona State. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Huskies are looking at tonight's game against Cal and next week's game against Colorado as the chance to pick up two wins and get back on track toward an eight- or nine-win season.
Meanwhile, Cal is desperate for a win. Dating back to last season, the Bears have lost 11 straight games to FBS opponents, the longest such current streak for any BCS conference team. Cal is also trying to reverse a recent run of futility against the Huskies. After winning six of seven against Washington between 2002 and 2008, Cal has lost four straight to Washington. The Bears have not beaten the Huskies in Seattle since 2005, when Jeff Tedford-coached Cal thrashed Tyrone Willingham-coached Washington 56-17. That day, the Bears were led by a fine performance from . . . wait for it...
That game was probably Joe Ayoob's finest hour as Cal quarterback in 2005. So let's hope Goff and/or Kline channels some of that tonight. (When was the last time you heard anyone say we must channel some Joe Ayoob?!?)
This is your pregame open thread. Share your pregame thoughts here and look for the link to the first quarter thread as gametime draws near.
GO BEARS! HUCK THE FUSKIES!