California Golden Bears at Northwestern Wildcats 8/30/14 Free College Football Pick
Northwestern Wildcats (0-0) vs. California Golden Bears (0-0)
College Football: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm (Ryan Field)
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -10.5 -- Over/Under: 61 See the Latest Odds
TV: ABC, ESPN2
The Cal Golden Bears and the Northwestern Wildcats face off on Saturday in Evanston as the kick off their 2014 college football seasons.
The California Golden Bears are coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory where they won just one game and that came against FCS Portland State. Jared Goff is back at QB to run the no huddle Cal offense and he appears to be fully recovered from last season’s injury that happened in the final game of the year. The running game was horrible last season but the Bears played from behind most of the season but they are hoping Daniel Lasco will be improved this year. Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper return at receiver and in a four receiver set Cal is hoping the WR group is more productive than they were a year ago when they scored just six touchdowns. The O-line was a sieve last season but Cal is hoping Steven Moore and Jordan Rigsbee can lead and make the unit better. The Cal defense was the worst in school history last season but in all fairness they lost five starters to injury and most teams would struggle if that happened to them and they should all make an impact as only two starters from last season, Jalen Jefferson and Cameron Walker return. Cal has some top tier talent on the roster and they should be improved to at least some degree this season.
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The Northwestern Wildcats didn’t make a bowl game last season but they should have what it takes to go bowling this year. Trevor Siemian returns as QB but this time he is the full time QB, not in a two-QB system, and the passing game should improve with his ability to throw and for Siemian to gain more confidence by being on the field more. Venric Mark is back at running back after being dinged up most of last season he is expected to return to form. NW has pretty decent depth at WR with Tony Jones and Christian Jones both returning as seniors and Mickey Shuler transferring in from Rutgers. The O-line returns three starters led by seniors Brandon Vitabile and Paul Jorgensen. The defense was solid last year for the Cats and they return seven starters led by safety Ibraheim Campbell. Collin Ellis and Chi Chi Ariguzo return at LB and the pass rush will be led by defensive end Dean Lowry. Northwestern lost some close ones last year and even some games they led late so making it to a bowl seems to be a low goal.
Cal is 6-10 against the spread in their last 26 games, 1-6 against the spread in their last seven road games, and 1-6 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games. Northwestern is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine non-conference games, 1-9 against the spread in their last 10 games, and 0-6 against the spread in their last six home games.
Northwestern is the better team on paper but even so they have a way of making games closer than they should be and while I am not loving this one I will take Cal and the points.
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