Utah Utes at California Golden Bears 9/26/20: Early Look College Football GOY free preview, analysis, prediction, odds and pick against the spread.
2020-05-22 12:33:00 EDT
The Utah Utes and the California Golden Bears meet Saturday, September 26 in college football action from California Memorial Stadium.
Utah is coming out of an 11-3 season in 2019, going 8-1 in the Pac-12 for a first-place finish in the South Division. The Utes’ campaign ended on a couple of losses, however: 37-15 to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game and 38-10 to Texas in the Alamo Bowl. As for California, they had a pretty solid season themselves in 2019 with an 8-5 overall record and a Redbox Bowl victory over Illinois 35-20. Get Free College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for every game all season long at Sports Chat Place.
Let’s take a closer look at both teams and see if we can get an idea of how things might play out when the Utes meet the Bears on September 26.
Utah was the best overall team in the South Division last year by a pretty decent margin, but they just eked by USC at 7-2 to earn a spot in the conference championship. Utah lost to the Trojans on September 20 and needed that extra win to take the division, even though they lost their postseason games. In any case, moving on to 2020 Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham enters his 16th season at the helm. He’ll be presiding over some turnover this year, as QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss—key contributors last season—have moved on. The good news is that the Utes’ offensive line remains largely intact, and those guys will pave some big holes for RBs Devin Brunfield and Jordan Wilmore to run through. The Utah rush game should be strong once again in 2020, and that will go a long way toward their success. QB-wise the Utes have a couple of options as well, so they should be just fine on offense.
Over on the California side, they went 4-5 in the Pac-12 last season and finished second in the standings. That’s actually pretty good when you consider that Oregon steamrolled through the conference at 8-1 last season and was the strongest team in the conference at 12-2. Cal had a four-game losing streak (dropping two of those games by seven points or fewer) in the middle of the season that basically torpedoed their chances at the conference championship game. Moving on to this season, head coach Just Wilcox gets new coordinators and he’ll try to improve on what was a pretty tepid offense last season. The Bears were last in the Pac-12 in three of the four major offensive categories, which explains the coaching staff overhaul. California does have a solid QB in Chase Garbers; if he can take the next step in 2020 the Bears offense should show some major improvement.
Pick: As an early-look pick, I like Utah. Due to injury and a few other factors, the Utes’ season didn’t end so well in 2019, but for most of the year they proved themselves as the major force outside of Oregon in the Pac-12. Utah gets a couple of potentially tricky matchups to start things out in 2020 (BYU and Wyoming should be pretty good this year) but nothing they can’t handle. The Utes should be in a good rhythm by the time this Cal game rolls around.
As for Cal, they’ve got some manageable games front-loaded on the schedule as well (UNLV, TCU and Cal Poly) and should be looking pretty good by September 26. That said, I think the Utes will be in a better place by then and can bang out a cover.