This week's Game of the Week in the Pac-10 is the #10 California Golden Bears (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) at the UCLA Bruins (4-2, 3-0 Pac-10). This looks to be the best game between good teams, because Oregon plays Washington, USC has Notre Dame, and Arizona State has a bye.
California is coming off of a bad loss last week at home against Oregon State. However, had quarterback Nate Longshore been healthy enough to play, that game wouldn't have happened the way it did. This week's tilt against UCLA looks the same way. If Longshore plays, then Cal should walk through this game no problem; however, if he is unable to, look for another very close game.
Kevin Riley, the back-up quarterback has taken most of the blame for the loss against the Beavers (even I blamed him, because I didn't watch the game), but it seems like more was piled on then was fair. Cal lost to Oregon State because the defense couldn't stop the run, and the coaches didn't hand the ball off to Justin Forsett 45 times. Had either of those happened, Cal would be #1 in the nation.
UCLA has had an up-and-down season this year, trouncing the same Oregon State squad that beat California, but losing to Utah, which got their athletic supporters handed to them against those Beavers. UCLA has taken two bad losses, against Utah and Notre Dame, and has no real quality wins except for Oregon State, but they have enough talent to compete with the Golden Bears.
The Bruins also have quarterback issues, as Ben Olson, their starter, will miss another game. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, after throwing 4 interceptions as the starter in their last game against Notre Dame, will be benched, and Pat Cowan,the new starter, who as a redshirt junior has more experience than the freshman Bethel-Thompson.
With all things considered, there's really no way that Cal lets their season get away. Final score: Cal 35, UCLA 24.
The game is at 3:30 PM Eastern, October 20th.