No Premier League for the week means I’m moving to the more popular type of football in the States.
Week 2 in NCAAF is chalk full of great matchups and look no further than the enticing 10:30pm ET slate we’ve got. Stanford-USC, Oklahoma State-Arizona State, and Auburn-CAL, all have intriguing storylines attached to them.
Where I’m looking is the SEC-PAC 12 clash in the Golden State.
The Golden Bears of Berkeley were absolutely on fire on offense under new OC Jake Spivital
Former NC State QB Ben Finley was solid in his debut tallying 274 total passing yards along with a TD. Their running attack was effective as well with Sophomore Jadyn Ott finishing with 178 rushing yards and two TDs. Will the spread attack be as effective this week as it was vs North Texas? No way, but Cal has consistently struggled on offense with injuries and defections since 2020 and this looks like the most complete team they have had in a while.
Auburn’s front 7 struggled in game 1 vs Umass and I can see that continuing again on the ground. The Golden Bears offensive attack is what will keep them in this game.
For Auburn’s offense, they will have their work cut out for them. Yes, Hugh Freeze is known as an offensive mastermind but their weapons could be questionable in his first season.
Michigan State transfer QB Payton Thorne was less than impressive vs the lowly Umass Minutemen, only completing 56% of his passes and throwing for 203 yards. The receiving room leaves a lot to be desired as well. The running attack is what could be the difference for the Tigers, though. The question marks surrounding impact RB Jarquez Hunter are important. If he can make his season debut and looks 100% he could certainly help loosen the pressure on Thorne. This is a much improved Golden Bears defense, though, and Justin Wilcox’s forte is on this side of the ball. I expect a top 50ish defense out of CAL this season and it could turn out to be one of his best units here by season end.
The hype around the CAL football has been gone for some time. People forget that Justin Wilcox was one of the hottest names on the coaching carousel at one point. I think some of that buzz returns after this week, win or lose. According to Kelley Ford (@KFordRatings), CAL is one of the highest risers in his power rankings, moving up 23 spots after week 1. I have this line closer to 4 and really think CAL could win this one outright.
Give me the Golden Bears +6.5 and I will not dissuade you from sprinkling the moneyline.
This is an article written by Pat Taylor
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