The Cal Bears and Washington Huskies had both hoped for better this season, but instead it will be a matchup of two teams in desperate need of victories just to become bowl eligible when they meet Friday night at Memorial Stadium (9 pm ET, ESPN2).
Can Cal stop the talk of the impending canning of Coach Tedford with a victory? Or will Washington add to it with a win of its own while stretching its 5-1 ATS mark in six recent games against the Bears?
Most college football betting outlets opened Cal at right around minus-4, and that number has held steady so far as of Thursday, according to most shops tracked by OddsShark.com.
Washington opened this season well enough, winning three of its first four games, pulling off an upset of Stanford in the process. But the Huskies then lost their next three games to Oregon, USC and Arizona.
Then last week U-Dub pulled off another upset, picking off Oregon State QB Sean Mannion four times in beating the No. 7 ranked Beavers 20-17.
Cal, meanwhile, opened their season with a loss to Nevada and a win over Southern Utah, but then lost three straight to Ohio State, USC and Arizona State. The Bears came back to win two straight, beating UCLA and Washington State, but have since lost two in a row to Stanford and Utah.
The loss to the Utes might have been a little closer had Cal not allowed two touchdowns on kickoff returns, and another on a fumble return.
So Cal, at 3-6, has to win its last three games to become bowl-eligible, while Washington, at 4-4, needs to win two of its last four.
According to the Sagarin ratings at USAToday Sports, Washington has played the toughest – the No. 1 most difficult – schedule in college football this season. Cal, meanwhile, has played the 15th-toughest slate.
By the numbers the Huskies have been out-gained this season by a 386-322 YPG margin, and out-rushed 185-126.
Meanwhile, the Bears have been out-gained 417-397, but have out-rushed foes 169-164.
On the injury front Cal, is banged up on defense and could be very thin at linebacker for this game.
Washington has won the last three games in this series. Last year up in Seattle, U-Dub spotted the Bears the first touchdown, then went on to win 31-23.
Free Pick: Washington has had a couple of moments this season, while the Bears are playing Coach Tedford out of a job. We'll take the points with the Huskies. (courtesy of PickShark.com)
All odds, stats and trends mentioned courtesy of OddShark.com. Mike Pickett is a Contributor to Bleacher Report.