First Look at Cal: Oregon favored by two touchdowns against Golden Bears
What once had the chance to be a primetime showdown between the two best teams in the Pac-12 when No. 13 Oregon and now unranked California — who was previously ranked No. 15 before losing their starting QB to injury and falling to Arizona State on Friday — is now likely to be just another game.
At one point, it had aspirations of bringing College Gameday to town, and expectations of laying the groundwork for either team to make a run in the conference and maybe make a run towards a respectable bowl game, or maybe more for Oregon. Now it is likely to be an Oregon blowout, and the returning students will likely leave early in the fourth quarter.
On Sunday, Las Vegas Sportsbooks released betting lines, predicting that the Ducks would win this game by two touchdowns. According to ESPN and their projection models, Oregon has a 96.2% chance to beat the Golden Bears. While Cal had put together an impressive 4-0 start to the season behind QB Chase Garbers, they looked largely incapable of moving the ball after he went out and Devon Modster had to come in for relief duties against ASU.
The Ducks still have a few things to worry about when game-planning for Cal, like running back Christopher Brown Jr., and receivers Trevon Clark and Marcel Dandy, but without a talented QB distributing the ball, the Oregon defense will likely have a field day on Saturday night. As for the California defense, they have a chance to make like tough on the Ducks, but I expect Oregon to pull through in the end.
You can't blame Cal for losing their starter; it's not their fault. But you can blame the football gods for taking away a juicy early-season Pac-12 showdown, just days before we were expecting to see it. That's just cruel.