There was a young Cal fan at last week's College GameDay festivities on the Oval with a sign that read something to the effect of "The Real Big Game is Next Week." I didn't pay him or his sign any mind. Stanford's Biggest Game was last week and the Cardinal came up short against the Ducks. While beating Cal won't erase the disappointment of that loss, it'll be nice to forget the BCS what-ifs for a few hours and worry only about keeping the Axe.
Crazy things happen in the Big Game, but I don't think we'll have to worry for long. Cal has a pair of solid receivers in Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen, but quarterback Zach Maynard doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opponents. (OK, Presbyterian was probably a little nervous to face him.) The Bears' chances of pulling the upset depend on running back Isi Sofele having a Shane Vereen-like Big Game, stopping the Cardinal's own rushing attack, and getting a ton of pressure on Andrew Luck.
Given Stanford's propensity for starting low and last week's result, there's a chance the Cardinal comes out flat, but I don't see that happening. Stanford's memory of how it felt the last time Cal came to Stanford Stadium and stole the Axe is all the motivation this team needs.
Cardinal 42, Bears 13.