The Ole Miss Rebels will face off with Cal in an SEC vs PAC 12 non-conference matchup this Saturday in Berkeley, CA. This will be the first ever meeting between these two historic college football programs. Ole Miss will be traveling over 2100 miles for the game and Cal will be making the same trip to Oxford, MI in 2019 for a rematch.
Ole Miss has started hot in 2017 with lopsided victories in their opening two games. Both games were against subpar opponents, but there was still an impressive showing on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Shea Patterson has thrown for 918 yards (2nd most in NCAA) and 9 touchdowns (tied for 1st in NCAA). While the passing game has been top notch, the run game surely needs work as they have only managed 3.3 yards per carry as a team.
California is also off to a 2-0 start including an upset victory over North Carolina in week 1. Cal was on upset alert in week 2 as they trailed FCS opponent Weber State 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter and their starting running back Tre Watson out of the game injured. Luckily, the Golden Bears were able to turn to Patrick Laird who stepped in nicely gaining 191 rushing yards and 3 touchdown scores leading them to a 33-20 victory. Cal can be satisfied with the win, but a week defensive secondary was exposed throughout the game.
Prediction and Betting Advice:
Be ready for some scoring in this one! The over is set at 72 and with good reason as both teams have shown weakness on defense and a propensity to score on offense. Cal is a home underdog in this matchup at +3.5. I think Cal will try to control the game with their rushing attack and limit the time Shea Patterson and the Rebels have with the ball. Ole Miss has definitely shown their strength in the passing game and put up big numbers, but both were in games that they were heavily favored and did not manage to cover the spread. The long distance travel and late game time should also have an effect on Ole Miss. I would take California +3.5 in this game.