The California and Washington football teams are far more alike than they'd care to admit. It's been that way for awhile. Their past two meetings have been decided by one and two points.
And this year, both find themselves at 1-2 sort of stumbling into entering Pac-12 Conference play, hoping they can finish better this season much than they started it.
The Bears dropped their opener to Nevada 22-17 and followed it up by losing a tough one to TCU 34-32 before beating FCS Sacramento State 42-30.
Ranked 20th to begin the season, the Huskies suffered uninspiring losses to Montana and Michigan before righting things with a 52-3 victory over Arkansas State that was more in tune with expectations for this team.
This game, as much as any, will set the tone for the rest of the season for the loser. It'll be difficult to bounce back from three early losses to even pursue a lower-tier bowl game in December. The winner will feel a little better about itself moving forward.
The biggest breakthrough, however, is the fact this Pac-12 game finally will be played after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation 10 months ago, and led to the UW and Cal each playing only a four-game schedule.
These are the two longest-serving conference members of what is now the Pac-12, joining 106 years ago. This is the 100th game of the series.
Kaila Olin and Trevor Mueller of Husky Maven preview the matchup and explain how Washington can begin conference play on a positive note.