Arizona Wildcats vs Cal Golden Bears Score Predictions
The Arizona Wildcats face the California Golden Bear at Homecoming on Saturday, a 12 p.m. MT start at Arizona Stadium that will air on the Pac-12 network.
Is this the game where Arizona (0-8, 0-5 Pac-12) finally ends their 20-game losing streak? Cal (3-5, 2-3) has won back-to-back wins, but the Wildcats haven’t lost to the Golden Bears since 2009 and have taken five straight series wins in Tucson.
Cal arrives in Tucson short of an unknown number of players after the school announced Thursday that “Multiple players” were in COVID-19 protocols and were not making the trip.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Cal was a 12-point favorite, but the line was taken off the table due to uncertainty surrounding the Bears’ available players.
Who will win? Here is what our staff think:
Kim Doss – Arizona wins 27-24
I said I wouldn’t pick Arizona to win until they actually won a game. I obviously lied, but listen to me.
The Golden Bears have won their last two games by a practical margin. Before that, their futility against the Pac-12 competition (or any competition) was almost as bad as that of Arizona. Cal is 3-5 overall and 2-3 in conference, so those two wins represent almost all of the games in the win column.
Another major concern for Cal is that those two conference wins came at home. In fact, their three wins have come at home. The Bears’ best performance on the road was a 31-24 overtime loss to Washington on September 25.
The final hurdle for visitors is the fact that several players are reportedly absent for COVID-19 protocols. While it’s unclear which players or how many players will miss the game, it adds another stone on the scale in Arizona’s favor. A report suggests that there are up to 50 players. If the Golden Bears are not forced to forfeit their chances of winning with that lack of depth are between slim and draw, but even a smaller number of missing players could have a huge impact on this game.
Despite the losses that have accrued for the Wildcats since 2019, encounters with Cal tend to appease Arizona’s collective soul. The Wildcats have won five in a row in the series dating back to 2010. Since 2006, Arizona is 7-2 against California. Neither team has had the kind of field futility this Wildcat team knows, but that also seems to be fading away.
Arizona will eventually shake the monkey off its back. This is the best chance.
Ezra Amacher – Cal wins 38-20
Arizona will likely be a fashionable choice to win on Saturday and end their 20-game losing streak. It’s reunion weekend after all, and the Wildcats have just had an inspiring outing against USC led by Will Plummer’s best performance of the season. While I sincerely hope Plummer can keep his game strong against Cal’s mediocre defense and lead the ‘Cats to a surprise victory, I just don’t think the Arizona D can stop Bears QB Chase Garbers.
Garbers could very well be the Pac-12’s best QB this season. In his last three games (against Oregon, Colorado and OSU), he’s thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Garbers is also working with a reliable RB in Damien Moore, who just finished a 111-yard day against the Beavs. Much like USC last weekend, Cal will have little trouble finding the end zone in this game, and the Wildcats will face another L.
Gabe Encinas – Cal wins 24-17
Ezra’s first two sentences are exactly how I feel. There is a tinge of optimism, as is Jordan McCloud taking over UCLA.
This team is heading in the right direction and Cal are a beatable team, the latest that Arizona faces as well. I don’t think the outcome of the game will be decided until the last practice, whether it’s Oregon State running out of time or Arizona having a chance to win.
The lineup isn’t good, but if they can stay competitive against Cal and have three good games together, I can live with that fight.
Sprinkle some on the Cats silver line.
Brandon Combs – Arizona wins 31-28
I’m gonna poop Ezra a little bit … sorry man. The Arizona defense may have had two tough last games with the passing game, but overall it’s very good. Top five of the conference in fact. Plus, they were good at lobbying and sacking the quarterback. I’m not as worried about Garbers’ arm as I am about his legs. He was very successful in running the ball, averaging 4.9 YPC. This is after being sacked 14 times.
With that, I’m more interested in seeing how Arizona is handling the race. Obviously I want to see CRW and Isaiah Rutherford bounce back and I think they will. They’ll need help with the security back-end, so this group needs to step up.
Offensively, I think Arizona will succeed, but only if Will Plummer plays the way he did against USC. And I think he will. Once a QB gains confidence and settles down, that’s usually all they need. We saw him with Jordan McCloud before he got injured.
With that, I think Arizona takes their first win in a long time and breaks the streak.
Adam Green – Cal wins 23-13
Alright I understand. Arizona were wonderfully competitive at USC and as bad as the Trojans are, they’re certainly better than Cal. Law?
Arizona’s offense started in Los Angeles because the quarterback’s game has improved a lot, but the fear here is that it has more to do with a weak USC defense than anything Will. Plummer or the Cats did. That’s not to say that Plummer hasn’t improved, nor that he can; just, I’m going to need 60+ minutes of football to really believe it.
However, if Plummer’s improvement is real, this team should definitely be competitive against Cal, if not win the game. The Bears aren’t a particularly good team, although they’ve looked competent lately. Still, late reports indicate they will lose a fair number of players to Covid, a bad break but Arizona doesn’t have to apologize for.
Having said that, I promised a few weeks ago that I wouldn’t pick Arizona to win a game until they come out and win a game. So I can’t pick Arizona to win.
Please let me fool myself.
Ronnie Stoffle – Arizona wins 23-21
You read that right, folks. I predict a victory here. Since the NAU disaster, I have had this game circled as the last game on the calendar that could lead to a victory.
My logic was that it was home and Cal can be erratic. I know they just beat Oregon State (which is also erratic) but the Golden Bears are very unpredictable. Now, taking into account that Arizona is in desperate need of a win, it feels like there is a real chance.
I will give Jedd Fisch credit for not losing the focus of the team. It is clear that this team is still doing their best to overcome the bump. It looks like the perfect storm with an opponent and a homecoming. The Wildcats come out and end the losing streak.
Brian J. Pedersen – Arizona wins 19-17
Much of what Jedd Fisch has done since taking the job in Arizona has had a made-for-TV aspect, from broad awareness among former players to social media interactions and more. There’s a bit of Ted Lasso in the way he goes about it, although he said he hasn’t watched the show yet.
For those who haven’t seen the Emmy-winning Apple + program, (SPOILER ALERT) Lasso’s AFC Richmond team is relegated at the end of the first season. But before that, there are some memorable moments, and unless you beat ASU in the Territorial Cup for their first win, getting it on Homecoming seems like the perfect moment.
Cal being down in players due to COVID protocols has the potential to tarnish a win here, while losing would be even worse. Arizona was going to win this game even though the Bears were at full strength, it was already in the script and it was too late for a rewrite.