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Utah

vs.

Cal

College Football Pick

10/1/16

Just like last year, Utah has jumped out do an undefeated record via some close calls and sit near the top of the Pac-12 South. The question is if the Utes can keep this going or not, something they couldn't a season ago. This week, they'll travel to an up-and-down California team that actually opened as a -1 point favorite as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

The Golden Bears are a hard nut to crack. We know they can score and that their defense might be one of the worst in the country, but in the last three weeks they have fallen to San Diego State and Arizona State, while beating Texas. Unsurprisingly, the win against the Longhorns came at home while the others were on the road.

Utah's early results have gone almost the opposite. Their defense is controlling things, while the offense puts just enough on the board to get the win. They scraped by BYU by a point and then last week had to come back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat USC. Their two final touchdown drives were a total of 26 plays and 168 yards with the final TD coming in the final seconds.

Utah apparently likes living life on the edge and bookmakers are expecting the same to happen here.

When these teams met last year, it was a similar case with the Utes needing six turnovers to win 30-24. Despite the five interceptions from NFL QB Jared Goff, the Bears hung around and probably should've won on the road if it wasn't for the turnovers. Now in Berkeley, they'll have a chance to upend the Utes, this time led by Davis Webb.

Webb has picked up where Goff left off in the spread offense, already with 1,837 yards and 18 TDs through four games. However, limiting turnovers will be an important part with Webb throwing five picks in the two losses. The Cal running game has looked somewhat better than a year ago with two guys (Vic Enwere, Khalfani Muhammad) averaging at least 6.0 yards per carry. That said, they're still at 4.0 ypc as a team compared with 4.5 ypc last season.

If Utah's defense can't force six turnovers, then how will the score look? Goff still threw for 340 yards in last year's loss, while they ran for 4.5 yards per carry. Take away those turnovers and Cal may have been able to drop 40 points. If that's the case this time around, will the Utes be able to score?

The hope is that their fourth-quarter offense from the USC win translates into this game, but that seems like a long shot. Quarterback Troy Williams has done enough for the Utes with 6 TDs and 4 INTs, but he'll be asked to score more in this game. As usual, they'll pound the running game with Zack Moss, Troy McCormick and Armand Shyne, in order to keep the Cal offense off the field.

In last year's win, Devontae Booker ran for 222 yards and a couple touchdowns if that says anything. The Utes will likely take the same approach here.

Cal hasn't played a defense this good yet, but Utah hasn't faced an offense this good. What will win out?

Our Pick - Utah +1.5

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