I think Stanford wins 31-21, but never really puts Cal out of reach. It’s been a long time since the Bears took home the Axe, so I think they’ll be extremely motivated. Plus, the Bears also have the opportunity to knock Stanford out of contention for the North. Ultimately though, I think David Shaw and the Cardinal have finally found their identity, and the Bears won’t have an answer. They have their quarterback. They have a Heisman deserving running back. And they have momentum.
This is an even Bigger Game. No team in the history of Big Game has ever won eight in a row. With a win tonight, Stanford once again makes history with its eighth consecutive Big Game victory. But also with a win tonight, Stanford likely will be on its way to its fourth Pac-12 Championship in only six years; if Stanford defeats Cal, all Stanford would then need is for Washington to win at home against Washington State. Unfortunately for Cal (and for Washington fans hoping to sneak into the Pac-12 Championship), Stanford's offense will be a little too much for Cal to handle. Stanford's 6.6 yards/rush is third-best in FBS, whereas Cal's defense allowing 4.3 yards/rush ranks only a mediocre 57th in FBS. Stanford's offensive line is best in the Pac-12, allowing a sack on only 4.3% of plays; meanwhile, Cal's defensive line is only mediocre, ranking seventh in the Pac-12 with a 7% sack rate. Put it altogether, and Cal's defense will be off balance all game long; KJ Costello will have plenty of time to find his targets, and Bryce Love will be on a stampede. Stanford 35, Cal 21.