Oh, how things have changed.

A year ago when Arizona and California met, both teams were up against it. The Wildcats were riding a 20-game losing streak, hoping for the pain to just end. Cal played without starting senior quarterback Chase Garbers, one of seven starters and 24 total players and coaches who were unavailable for the game because of COVID-19 issues. The Wildcats won 10-3, their only win of the season.

Both teams enter Saturday’s contest 2-1. Arizona’s fortunes have flipped thanks to a much-improved defense and the play of Jayden de Laura at quarterback. Cal has its own Plummer brother now running the show, former Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer, the brother of UA quarterback Will Plummer.

For both sides, the Pac-12 opener carries some serious stakes. A 3-1 record feels a whole heck of a lot different than 2-1. And the Wildcats will get Colorado next, followed by four straight weeks of ranked opponents — Oregon, Washington, USC, then Utah. Cal plays Washington State in Pullman next, before having to face Washington, Oregon, USC, and Oregon State in the next six weeks.

Both of these teams will be fighting like crazy for a win on Saturday.

Here’s everything you need to know for the game.

TV and Kickoff Time

Kickoff time: 2:30 p.m. PT

TV Network: Pac-12 Network

Betting odds

Line: Cal -3.5

Total: 50.5

Money line: Cal -178, Arizona +146

Via FanDuel

Expert predictions

ESPN’s FPI gives Cal a 69.2% chance of winning.

Bill Connelly’s SP+ has the Golden Bears winning it 27-15.

WildcatAuthority’s Jason Scheer has Arizona winning 24-20.

Jedd Fisch wants to run the ball more, but circumstances have not always allowed it. This week, establishing the run early against an average defensive line makes sense. Expect to see a similar strategy to the season opener against San Diego State where Arizona forces Cal to play the run only to later get beaten by the pass.

CFN’s Pete Fiutak has the Bears winning 24-20.

Mississippi State has one of the nation’s best passing games – that got it done against the Wildcats. North Dakota State has one of the best offenses in the FCS – that made it interesting with close to 300 rushing yards. Cal was able to throw well on UC Davis and UNLV, but Arizona is a bit more efficient than those two.

Don’t expect fireworks. Neither offense will be able to open it up, the Cal defense will be just a wee bit better at getting off the field, and special teams will make a big difference.

Our own Jon Gold has the Wildcats winning,.

The Bears aren’t going to have such abysmal numbers this time around, but Arizona got better while Cal got worse in the offseason. The Wildcats retooled passing attack should have a big game against a Bears defense that needs to find a pass rush.