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Cal vs. Arizona: Pregame Open Thread

After a bye week, Cal football is back. Conference play opens with the Bears' toughest test of the season to date: a trip to Tucson to face Arizona's high powered offense.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

"Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?"-- Marv Levy

Hall of Fame coach (and former Cal coach) Marv Levy might be on to something tonight. The California Golden Bears are exactly where they want to be: they are in Tucson, opening up Pac-12 play against the Arizona Wildcats, and are 2-0 after opening the season with wins at Northwestern and at home against Sacramento State.  Though Cal has not been perfect in those wins, the Bears have certainly given us reason to be optimistic about the season. This team has the looks of a much improved football team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball under new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman.

Tonight we will see just how much better the Bears are than last year, as tonight presents Cal's toughest test to date.  Cal will face a 3-0 Arizona team in front of a rowdy "White Out" crowd at Arizona Stadium.

Back in the bygone days of the Dick Tomey era, Arizona was best known for its "Desert Swarm" defense.  Cal's trips to Tucson in the mid-90s heyday of Desert Swarm were low scoring games.  While defense will be important for both teams tonight, the conventional wisdom going into this one is that "low scoring" will not be an apt description.  The over-under is 70.

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at ARIZONA WILDCATS (3-0, 0-0)

Saturday, Sept. 20 | 7:00 pm PT Arizona Stadium | Tucson, AZ

TV: Pac-12 Networks - Kevin Calabro (Play by Play), Glenn Parker (Analyst), Jill Savage (Sideline Reporter)

Radio: KGO 810 AM - Joe Starkey (Play by Play), Mike Pawlawski (Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline)

Live Stats: statbroadcast.com

Live Audio: TuneIn Radio - CalBears.com/tunein SiriusXM Satellite Radio: Sirius (139) and XM (197)

Cal Student Radio: KALX 90.7 FM

Series History: Arizona leads, 15-14-2

Last Meeting: Arizona 33, at Cal 28 (Nov. 2, 2013)

Last Meeting in Tucson: Arizona 10, Cal 9 (Sept. 25, 2010)

Tonight's game marks the seventh consecutive season in which Cal opens conference play on the road.  (HT to Jeff Faraudo, from whom I learned that fact.) WHY MUST THE PAC-12 TREAT US THIS WAY?!?  In case you are wondering, Cal is 1-5 in those previous six conference openers and has lost five straight:

2013: at Oregon (L 55-16)

2012: at USC (L 27-9)

2011: at Washington (L 31-23)

2010: at Arizona (L 10-9)

2009: at Oregon (L 42-3)

2008: at Washington State (W 66-3)

It's about time Cal broke this streak!

This is your pregame open chat.  You have been waiting two weeks and all day for this one. Unwind by discussing the game here in the comments.  Watch for the first quarter thread as kickoff draws near.

GO BEARS!

Other (or last minute) reading:

LiffeyBear takes a look at the new California defense

So too, does head football writer Scott Chong

Previewing the Arizona offensePreviewing the Arizona defense

Q&A with Arizona Desert Swarm

Arizona vs UTSA: The Novel