Both teams emerge from their bye weeks likely feeling varying levels of disappointment. For Cal (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) they let a very winnable game in South Bend slip away and then didn’t have their best stuff in a 28-9 loss to Washington State. There’s a scenario where the Bears are 5-0 entering this matchup with the 0-5 Buffs.

On the home side of the matchup, Colorado can’t really look to any of its matchups and say, “If a few things broke right, we’d have won here,” as every game so far has been a 20-plus-point loss. That necessitated the dismissal of coach Karl Dorrell right after the team’s 43-20 loss to Arizona. The bye week came at the right time, affording interim coach Mike Sanford to reset the ground a little.

“There’s an evolution, there’s a process that you need to put in place as an interim head coach,” Sanford told reporters this week. “Whether it be a new voice, whether it be changes that were made, whether, as an interim head coach, you put play callers in their correct seats and make the changes. I think all of it can lead to positive growth.”

Something has to change. The Bears are 0-2 on the road this season and 1-9 in true road games since the start of the 2020 campaign. Colorado has just three wins against FBS opponents since Dec. 5, 2020.

As boring as it is to say the team that runs the ball better will win, it’s especially true here. Colorado is statistically the worst run defense in college football this season, allowing 6.7 yards a carry to opposing backs and just a touch under 300 yards on the ground a game. Cal brings a superb freshman back into the contest in Jaydn Ott. He ranks 16th nationally in yards per carry (7.3) and has 533 yards over his first five collegiate appearances.

Ott and the Bears were somewhat contained on the ground by Washington State in an Oct. 1 loss but a week prior he ran wild over Arizona’s defense. Ott went for 274 yards and three scores that day. He’s a threat all over the field, and Cal will look to get him rolling again in order to set the table for everyone else.

To keep the pressure off its young quarterback, Colorado has to keep those explosives from happening on defense.

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

TV info and kickoff time

Kickoff time: 11 a.m. PT

TV network: Pac-12 Network

Location: Folsom Field, Boulder

Betting odds

Line: California -15.5

Total: 48.5

Money line: California -720, Colorado +500

Via FanDuel

Expert predictions

ESPN’s FPI gives California an 82.2% chance of beating Colorado.

Bill Connelly’s SP+ is calling for a 30-18 win for Cal, giving the Golden Bears a 75% chance of winning.

BuffStampede’s Adam Munsterteiger likes the game to be a little closer, but he still has Cal coming out with a 31-27 win.

BuffZone’s Brian Howell is going with the upset, though, and picking Colorado to get its first win of the season in a 28-27 game.