Oregon to the Rose; USC to the Cotton


We have reached the point in the season between early and late, when the bowl math begins to take shape.

For two teams, Cal and Arizona, this stands as a week that will frame the stretch run.

Win, and the math remains manageable.

Lose, and it starts to look like advanced calculus.

Let’s dive in …

The Bears are 3-2, halfway to postseason qualification with a trip to Colorado this week. They are favored by two touchdowns over what has been the worst team in the Power Five.

A victory would create margin for error down the stretch:

Cal would need two victories from a group of five games against Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, USC and Stanford.

Two of five? That’s an entirely reasonable outcome.

Based on current performance, the Bears would be a significant favorite just once (Stanford) and a solid underdog against Oregon and the L.A. schools. If they handled the Cardinal and either Washington (home) or Oregon State (road), that’s six.

But if they lose in Boulder, the path narrows. They would need to sweep the three manageable matchups (Stanford, OSU and Washington) or enter must-win mode against one of the conference’s heavyweights.


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