I'm going to begin this post with a spoiler.
For the first time since taking over the beat, I'm predicting a victory for Washington.
Not exactly going out on a limb on this one, sure. The Huskies are 23-point favorites over a California team that has been beaten up by a supremely difficult schedule through seven games, is missing a handful of key defensive players, and is giving up more than 44 points per game and ranks near the bottom nationally in most statistical categories.
So this is a game the Huskies should win, regardless of how poorly they played in the desert last week.
--- Bishop Sankey carried 13 times for 23 yards against Arizona State last week, and Steve Sarkisian expressed regret for not giving it to him more. With UW's quarterback situation still somewhat unsettled -- I'd expect Keith Price to start, but he obviously isn't going to be 100 percent -- it seems likely that UW will try to ride Sankey to an early lead. He might not end up with 40 carries like he did against Arizona, but I think it's safe to expect somewhere in the 25 range. And against Cal's defense, that should equate to a fair amount of yardage, too.
--- Cal has been able to put up some pretty impressive yardage totals at times this season (they're seventh nationally in passing yardage per game), but the Bears' quarterback situation is also unsettled -- Jared Goff or Zach Kline? -- and they've been pretty one-dimensional in the first year of Sonny Dykes' Air Raid, unlike Oregon and ASU, both of which were effective on the ground and through the air. If the Huskies don't let Bryce Treggs or Chris Harper get going -- that's no easy task -- they can limit what the Bears are able to do offensively. Some semblance of a pass rush would help, too.
--- Cal ranks 121st in the country in total defense, 122nd in scoring defense and 123rd in passing defense. The Bears simply aren't very good this season, and this isn't a game the Huskies should come close to losing at home.
The pick: Washington 38, California 10.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple