California vs. Utah: Experienced Utes are the College Football Pick Over Bears

David Lawrence

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:40 PM GMT

The California Golden Bears and the Utah Utes are the only two unbeaten teams left in the Pac-12. Which one will remain that way after Saturday?

Momentum
The Golden Bears might have been looking ahead to this game, so they didn’t play very well against Washington State. However, they did enough to win and remain unbeaten on the season. Jared Goff is a quarterback who is being closely examined by a lot of NFL teams and scouts. People are growing to like his skill set, but that skill set is going to run into a number of stiff tests, and this is the biggest one so far this season. Cal’s win over Washington State might be a good wake-up call for this team, reminding it that it can’t coast through games just expecting to win. However, that game might also have revealed a measure of this team’s limitations, which Utah will hope to exploit in this game.

Utah had a bye week, so the team’s most recent game remains the 62-20 beatdown it delivered to Oregon in Eugene a few weeks back. The Utes played their best game in several years, easily the best game since their 2009 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama. Quarterback Travis Wilson had been very inconsistent in his previous few seasons as Utah’s offensive leader, but he was great against the Ducks. If he’s anywhere close to that level of performance in this game, the Utes have to love their chances of being able to win. The defense swarmed Oregon’s offensive line and made life very uncomfortable for the Ducks’ receivers. Utah’s pass rush is its foremost defensive strength. If the Utes can rattle Goff, they almost certainly have the game won.

 

Line Moves
The College Football Odds started with Utah as a 7-point choice, and that line has remained in place thus far. Bettors are probably wanting to think about this game before they make a play on it. Both Cal and Utah are not regulars in the national spotlight, so bettors might be gathering information on these teams in the early days of the week.

 

Notable Injuries
California has defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil questionable for this game with a knee injury. Linebacker Aisea Tongilava is out indefinitely with a toe injury. Cornerback Jaylinn Hawkins is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Jack Austin is out four to six weeks with a foot injury.

Utah has tight end Evan Moeai listed as questionable for this game with a leg injury. Defensive end Hunter Dimick has been upgraded to probable with a knee injury. Wide receiver Tim Patrick is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Offensive lineman Lo Falemaka is out indefinitely with a chest injury. So is running back Marcel Brooks-Brown. Defensive back Ahmad Christian is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Running back Troy McCormick is out for the season with a knee injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
The Utes have a lot more experience in big games. This is really Cal’s first moment in the Pac-12 spotlight this season against a good opponent. It’s likely to be way too much for the Golden Bears. Take Utah with your College Football Picks.

College Football Pick: Utah -7 at 5Dimes

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