North Carolina vs. Cal fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 4:00 pm ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
North Carolina (0-0) vs. Cal (0-0) Game Preview
When we last saw these two play, Cal slightly-stunned North Carolina 35-30 in Chapel Hill to start out the Justin Wilcox era with a bang. And then the Bears went on to finish with a losing season and the Tar Heels went through a disastrous campaign.
And now, UNC head coach Larry Fedora went all weird, Cal lost its best receiver – Demetris Robertson – to Georgia, and now, it’s not insane to think that the loser of this will be in for another losing run.
But it should be an entertaining battle no matter what.
The Tar Heels really were rebuilding last year, and the Bears have a great thing going under Wilcox.
This game will define the narrative for both programs.
One Reason Why North Carolina Will Win
The Tar Heel pass rush has to get rolling from the start. Even though the Bears didn’t do much downfield passing, the pass protection was a major problem and it wasn’t a consistent group.
On the other side, no matter who’s under center, the passing game has to get rolling against a defense that was 112th in the nation in yards allowed. It was a young group of defensive backs that took its lumps, and they still have to prove they can stop a solid passing game. UNC has to get hot early on and get into a passing groove, but …
One Reason Why Cal Will Win
Oh yeah … North Carolina is going to be missing some players.
Because the NCAA is unfair and strange, 13 Tar Heel players got in trouble for selling shoes given to them by the school. They’re the players’ shoes, but whatever – you’re not supposed to do that. However, not all of the players will be suspended at the same time.
Most notably, quarterback Chazz Surratt will be gone for the Cal game.
With the players in place, the biggest key will be to hold up against the Bear ground game – all five starters are back on that O line that was so shaky in pass protection.
UNC got hammered against the run, allowing 213 yards per game, and now the experience has to translate into production. RB Patrick Laird is back after running for 1,127 yards and eight scores – he’ll be used early.
What’s Going To Happen
North Carolina is going to be far better this season, but not yet.
Cal is growing into a rock-solid team across the board, and at home, this is where the team starts to look the part.
The offense will be far more efficient with most of the key parts back, but it will be the defensive back seven that takes over as the game goes on.
There might not be a crazy home field advantage in Berkeley, but for this game, it’ll seem like it at least a little bit as Cal looks sharp from the start with a good offensive balance to own third downs. The Bears will control the game throughout.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Cal 34, North Carolina 27
Line: Cal -7, o/u: 61
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2.5
Must See Rating: 3
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