There are four games on the college football slate Friday night and Arizona State vs. California is shaping up to be the Game of the Day. Arizona State go into Friday with a 3-1 record and a win against Michigan State on the road. They went into last week against Colorado with a perfect 3-0 record, but came out with their first loss of the season by a score of 34-31. That could have very well been a letdown spot for Arizona State at home.
They looked so good in East Lansing, but then had to take the long flight home to prepare for Colorado. Arizona State got a little too comfortable against a dangerous Colorado team. They already took Nebraska by surprise this season and made Arizona State their latest victim. Colorado aren’t great by any means, but take them lightly and that stuff happens. Herm Edwards will look to get his squad back on track for Cal on Friday night.
Edwards has proven to be the right fit for Arizona State. This isn’t the same offense that we’ve seen from previous Arizona State teams, but they’ve addressed the defense considerably. When Edwards was hired, it was assumed that he was going to address their issues on the defensive side of the ball and it happened rather quickly.
The same could be said for Cal football. Justin Wilcox was hired because of how horrific Cal was defensively. This is a program that had Jared Goff and couldn’t field a winning team with him. Goff and the offense were forced to score over 50 points a game to win. Just like Edwards, Wilcox changed the culture at Cal fast. Just ask Washington, who they were able to upset on the road by a score of 20-17 as two touchdown underdogs.
They had a letdown against North Texas the following week and were fortunate to get out of the week with a 23-17 win. The Golden Bears survived again last week, as Ole Miss misfired on Saturday afternoon. They botched an opportunity late to go for a tie and ultimately fell by a score of 28-20. It should be a good one Friday night between Arizona State and Cal. These are two of the more underrated defenses in college football. Head below for our free Arizona State vs. Cal pick.
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Arizona State vs. Cal Pick:
The win for Arizona State in East Lansing was a clinic put on by their defense. They held Michigan State to just 7 points, as they didn’t allow a solid Michigan State ground game from getting going. Elijah Collins led the Spartans with 72 yards rushing on 19 carries and that was pretty much it.
Quarterback, Brian Lewerke, was the second-leading rusher in the Spartans with 25 yards, so that goes to show what Arizona State were able to do up front on the road. Michigan State are a physical team, but the Sun Devils were the more physical team on that day.
Arizona State rank 31st in the FBS with 103.3 yards allowed per game. They got too lazy last week and were not filling their gaps defensively. It was the first game that Arizona State allowed more than 7 points all season. But it’s abundantly clear that the Sun Devils are a team who rely on their defense now. If you haven’t been following college football in the past couple of years, this would be very new to you. Likewise, the same goes for the Golden Bears. Wilcox joins Cal and immediately we see a team ready to play defense.
They haven’t been as good defending the run, but their competition has been more difficult. Cal are 61st in college football with 141.3 yards allowed per game. The Sun Devils have surrendered 13.8 points per game, while the Golden Bears have allowed 17.3 points per game. My issue with Cal isn’t their defense. They are going to make plays in this game, but I am still skeptical about Chase Garbers against good defenses.
I was on Cal in Washington, but 14 points was way too many points to fade the Golden Bear defense. It wasn’t necessarily because of Garbers, who can be good like we saw last week, but he also has the potential to disappear in spots. After throwing 4 touchdowns against Ole Miss, expect Garbers to come down to earth on Friday night. I do not like how he has a short week to prepare for the Arizona State defense, especially after another big win on the road. This game should make for a defensive struggle leading to a 21-17 or 23-20 final on Friday night.