Pac-12 Football Picks: Predictions against the spread for Week 1

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Nov 29, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws the ball against the Brigham Young Cougars during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Brigham Young Cougars defeated the California Golden Bears 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Grambling State Tigers At California Golden Bears

Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California

The Line: No Line

I know, another game that looks to feature a big blowout. Do not worry, this is the last of the truly terrible games on the week 1 slate. Here, the Tigers of Grambling State are just happy to cash the check handed over by the Cal Bears, along with the opportunity to play against future NFL stud Jared Goff on national TV. If you really have nothing else going on in your life, then you can watch this game on the Pac-12 Network, 1:00 PM, pacific time, on Saturday.

Keys To The Game:

Cal’s offense was spectacular last season, finishing second in the Pac-12 at 38.2 points per game and 495 yards. It was only their defense that kept them from competing for the conference crown, as that side of the ball gave up an astonishing 512 yards and 40 points each week.

Clearly, head coach Sonny Dykes is just hoping for a halfway decent defensive effort this year. Even an average defense would put this in the conversation for double digit wins given how Goff can sling the ball. A warm-up against Grambling State is a great way to test the defensive improvement expected in 2015.

The Prediction:

Goff looks fantastic, the offense stomps all over the Tigers, but the defense still looks shaky, giving at least a couple of big plays to an inferior opponent. Dykes lauds the effort, but secretly worries about what will happen if his program has to wade through another tough season. Cal wins 55-35, but no one is especially happy about it.

Next: Colorado At Hawaii