Colorado has struggled to stop anyone on defense while demonstrating difficulties in certain aspects of the game, such as tackling, but finally will meet a team that can relate in California. The Buffaloes are favored to snap their 14-game conference losing streak when they host the Golden Bears on Saturday in a matchup of the only two winless teams in the Pac-12. California, which has lost 12 straight conference games, is 121st among the 123 FBS teams in points allowed at 44.7 per game, while Colorado checks in 117th at 40.4.
"Oh, my goodness. We had enough missed tackles Saturday (37) to last a lifetime,'' Buffaloes defensive coordinator Kent Baer told the Denver Post after Colorado was shredded for 628 yards in a 59-7 loss at Washington last week, and added "we probably don't have the overall speed that most teams have in this league.'' The Buffaloes are allowing averages of 50.5 points and 589.5 yards in Pac-12 games - astounding numbers that are even worse than last season, when the 1-11 campaign was considered rock bottom. The Golden Bears lost to USC 62-28 last week and have dropped 14 straight FBS contests.
TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Colorado -3
ABOUT CALIFORNIA (1-9, 0-7 Pac-12): The Golden Bears are last in the country in passing yards allowed at 333.1 per game and also struggle to stop teams from running (195) while having difficulty generating their own ground game (108th, 119.6 per game). California also has special-teams issues as it yielded three touchdowns against USC - two on punt returns and one on a blocked punt. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for a school-record 504 yards against Washington State, has 17 touchdown passes against nine interceptions and could feast on a 111th-ranked Colorado defense that is yielding 273.4 yards per game.
ABOUT COLORADO (3-6, 0-6): The Buffaloes were double-digit underdogs in every previous Pac-12 game this season and did not come close to winning any of them. Wide receiver Paul Richardson, who compiled 284 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-33 overtime loss to California in 2011, is expected to play while nursing an ankle injury which forced him out of last week's game. Colorado hasn't done much on the ground this season (99th at 128.6 yards per game), but with a less-than-100 percent Richardson (60 catches, 17.7 yards per reception, nine touchdowns), it might try to get Christian Powell and/or freshman Michael Adkins II going.
1. California WRs Chris Harper (68 catches, 12.4 yards per reception) and Kenny Lawler have a team-leading five touchdowns apiece, while Bryce Treggs has a team-high 69 catches.
2. The Golden Bears have been outscored 157-41 in the first quarter, while the Buffaloes have been overwhelmed 230-79 in the second and third periods.
3. This is the first meeting which will count toward the Pac-12 standings, with the 2011 contest the back end of a two-game series and considered a non-conference game after Colorado visited California in 2010 - its final season in the Big 12.
PREDICTION: Colorado 38, California 31