Cal Football: Complete Preview Box for Saturday's Big Game Against Stanford

Photo by Neville E. Guard - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Although neither Cal nor Stanford comes into the 122nd Big Game with a winning record, there are some things on the line.

The main issue is that Stanford has won the Big Game nine times in a row, a streak that galls many Cal fans.

Also, both teams are looking for bowl bids, with Cal needing one win to become bowl eligible, and the Cardinal needing two victories to get to a bowl for the 11th consecutive year. (Click here for bowl projections for Cal.)

Cal has not finished with a better overall record than Stanford since 2008, which is also the last time the Bears ended up ahead of Stanford in the conference standings. Cal has a chance to end both streaks this season. A victory in the Big Game would ensure that Cal would finish with a better overall record than Stanford, but the Bears would then also have to beat UCLA the following week to finish ahead of the Cardinal in the Pac-12 standings.

Chase Garbers has been announced as Cal's starting quarterback for the game.

Here are the important facts for Saturday’s contest:

CAL (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) vs. STANFORD (4-6, 3-5 Pac-12)

SITE: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, Calif.

WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV: Pac-12 Network – Ted Robinson (Play-By-Play), Yogi Roth (Analyst), Lewis Johnson (Sideline Reporter)

RADIO: KGO 810 AM - Joe Starkey (Play-By-Play), Mike Pawlawski (Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline Reporter)

BETTING LINE: Stanford is favored by 2 ½ points (as of Friday); Over/Under – 40.

WEATHER FORECAST: It will be mostly sunny with a high of 67 degrees on Saturday afternoon at Stanford. There is only a 10 percent chance of rain.

CAL-STANFORD HISTORY: This will be the 122nd Big Game, and Stanford leads the all-time series 64-46-11. Cal-Stanford is the tied for the sixth-most-played rivalry involving FBS schools. (Click here for a list of the most-played rivalries.) Stanford has won nine straight games in the series after Cal had won seven of the previous eight against the Cardinal. The Bears’ last win in the Big Game was in 2009, when Cal’s Mike Mohamed intercepted a Andrew Luck pass at the Cal 3-yard line with 1:36 left in the game. With that 34-28 win 10 years ago, Cal spoiled No. 14 Stanford's Rose Bowl hopes.

CAL STORYLINES: Chase Garbers will be Cal’s starting quarterback against Stanford. . . . Bears starting tailback Christopher Brown Jr., starting safety Ashtyn Davis and wide receiver Kekoa Crawford are also questionable for Saturday’s game because of injuries suffered last week. . . . Cal ranks last in the Pac-12 and 117th in the country in scoring offense, averaging 18.9 points per game. Only once this season have the Bears scored 30 points or more . . . . The Bears have lost five of their last six games, and that includes last week’s 41-17 loss to USC. . . . Cal held 14 straight opponents under 25 points prior to the game against Utah, but two of the past three Cal opponents have scored 35 points or more. . . . This season Cal has been assessed 398 penalty yards, which are the fewest in the Pac-12 and the 12th-fewest in the country.

STANFORD STORYLINES: QB Davis Mills will make his fifth start of the season for the Cardinal on Saturday, with K.J. Costello out with an injury. Mills is 2-2 as a starter and threw for a school-record 504 yards in last week’s loss to Washington State . . . Stanford will be without its best player, cornerback Paulson Adebo, a preseason AP first-team All-American who is out with an injury . . . Stanford is expected to start three true freshmen on its offensive line against Cal . . . The Cardinal is already assured of finishing with its worst record since David Shaw became head coach prior to the 2011 season. His previous worst record was 8-5 in 2014. However, Shaw is 8-0 against Cal . . . Stanford has lost its past two games, 16-13 against Colorado and 49-22 against Washington State last week. . . . The Cardinal averages 22.6 points per game and ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring (ahead of only Cal) . . . Stanford allows an average of 30.3 points per game . . . Stanford is 3-2 at home this season.

CAL PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cal QB Chase Garbers (Cal is 4-0 this season in games in which he plays more than a half); RB DeShawn Collins (no starts this season but rushed for 103 yards vs. USC); LB Evan Weaver (leads the nation in tackles at 15.1 per game); LB Kuony Deng (fourth in the Pac-12 in tackles at 9.8 per game): CB Camryn Bynum (Cal’s best cover corner will have to deal with big Stanford receivers); OLB Cam Goode (9.0 tackles for loss).

STANFORD PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Davis Mills (school-record 504 passing yards last week vs. Washington State); TE Colby Parkinson (6-foot-7 athlete is another NFL-ready tight end from Stanford); WR Simi Fehoko (6-foot-4 athlete has 6 TD catches, averages nearly 30 yards per reception); WR Connor Wedington (8 receptions, 119 receiving yards last week); WR Michael Wilson (5 catches, 114 receiving yards last week); OLB Casey Toohill (7 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss).

Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin talks about Stanford’s defense:

Cal defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter talks about Stanford’s offense:



JAKE'S PICK: Stanford 24, Cal 17.

JEFF'S PICK: Cal 20, Stanford 17

DANIEL MARTINEZ-KRAMS PICK (Stanford Daily): Stanford 28, Cal 14


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