College Football Picks: A Look at California Vs Arizona

California Golden Bears at Arizona Wildcats, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Saturday, September 25, 2010, 10:00 pm EST, TV: Fox Sports Arizona, Comcast Bay
Opening Line: Arizona -6 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -6 1/2
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 57.5
Money Line: Arizona -255 / Cal +215

Betting Lines from above taken from Bookmaker Sportsbook

The Arizona Wildcats are home favorites of 6/6.5 points depending on where you shop

Jeff Tedford leads the California Golden Before Bears into Tuscon to take on Mike Stoops and the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-10 opener for both schools. Arizona is 3-0 after a good win against Iowa last week 34-27, while California lost in Reno last week to Nevada 52-31, to fall to 2-1 this season. Cal has had success in recent years going 5-2 against the number in the last 7 meetings between the schools. The total has gone under in 4 of the previous 6 meetings as well. The Pac-10 is loaded this year  with5 teams in the top 25, and with USC being on probation, the conference is wide open. Every game becomes critical and the winner of this game can jump out to an early lead in the conference.

Last week California outgained Nevada 502-497. However, 3 interceptions by Bears quarterback Kevin Riley and 7 costly penalties doomed the Bears in the 52-31 loss, after convincing wins to open the season against UC Davis and Colorado for Cal. Before the defense fell apart against Nevada, it had been suffocating in the two routs against lesser opponents. The Bears outscored UC Davis and Colorado by a combined score of 104-10, and allowed only 322 total yards. against the Wolfpack, Cal was gashed for 316 yards on the ground alone. If the defense plays like that against Arizona it could be a long night for the Bears, but we don’t know  defensively which Bears team is the real one. Is it the dominant unit that showed up in the first 2 games or the unit that was shredded by Nevada? this game in Tucson will tell us a lot about the bears defensively. On offense the Bears are fine. Riley was flawless until he threw those 3 picks against Nevada, throwing for 732 yards and 8 touchdowns so far this season. Shane Vereenleads the rushing attack with 324 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also has 6 catches for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Riley also likes to throw it to receivers Marvin Jones (21 catches, 328 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Keenan Allen (10 catches, 185 yards, 2 touchdowns.)

Arizona jumped out to a huge lead last week against highly ranked Iowa. They were up 27-7 at halftime and watched as the Hawkeyes tied it up in the 4th quarter. Arizona blocked the extra point that would have given Iowa the lead, and then scored on the next possession to win 34-27. Defense and special teams helped the Wildcats win that game as they returned an interception and a kickoff for a touchdown against Iowa. Like Cal, Arizona was stifling on defense in their first two games against lesser opponents, Toledo and the Citadel outscoring them 93-8, and only allowing 354 total yards in both games combined. The Wildcats only allowed 62 passing yards a game to both teams. Even against Iowa the defense wasn’t horrible. they only gave up 307 yards to the Hawkeyes including 29 on the ground. However, the Wildcats committed 12 penalties and 3 turnovers which allowed the Hawkeyes to get back into the game. They must protect the ball better against Cal. The offense is led by quarterback Nick Foles who has thrown for 877 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions so far this season. The running game is led by Nic Grigsby who has  33 carries, 187 yards and 5 touchdowns. Foles spreads the ball around as 4 Wildcat receivers have 11 catches or more, but Juron Krinerhas the most yards with 284.

These two teams must protect the  ball better than they did last week. Arizona is riding high after the gutsy win over Iowa, but the Iowa win will mean nothing if they lose the conference opener at home.  Maddux Sports has released college football picks for Saturday and this happens to be one of the games we gave our prediction on.  Get these picks by visiting our college football predictions page.

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