It’s that time again for the Burnt Orange Nation staff predictions as the Texas Longhorns travel to Berkeley to take on the California Golden Bears on Saturday night. Kickoff is at 9:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN.
Wescott Eberts — editor
From the Texas standpoint, the Bear Raid passing attack led by Davis Webb and Chad Hansen is cause for concern, but not many teams have the amount of secondary depth as the Longhorns, so that won't be the deciding factor in the game.
The awful run defense for the Golden Bears against an offense that should return six starters? That looks much more likely to be a deciding factor in the game.
Our friends at California Golden Blogs don't think that Cal can score with Texas and I agree.
Texas 45, Cal 24
Cody Daniel — co-editor
I feel like this is game may not end up being as close as some may expect. I'm fully aware of how dangerous Cal's 'Bear Raid' offense has been through the first two weeks, but I also think the defense - front seven and secondary - that Cal will see against Texas is going to be leaps and bounds beyond what the Bears have seen so far this season.
Texas' rushing attack is going to beat Cal's horrible rush defense to a pulp with the offense line opening holes you could fit an 18-wheeler through.
That's only going to allow Shane Buechele to become a game manager and drop in a few of his perfectly placed sideline bombs throughout the night as Cal stacks everyone (The coach? A few fans? The mascot?) into the box to slow the run.
Texas 48, Cal 27
Jack Keyes — staff writer
I think overall I've been the most pessimistic predictor of the bunch. I admittedly picked Notre Dame to win and thought UTEP would put 24 up on Texas last week.
However, I'm feeling fairly confident that Texas can establish it's run game early against Cal. Hopefully the offensive line can hold and stay healthy and the secondary can prevent the big plays.
I think this game will be a shootout-turned-blowout by the fourth quarter in favor of the 'Horns.
Texas 48, Cal 31
Jonathan Wells - recruiting contributor
If ever there were a game for UT to assert its will in the running game, it would be this one. Cal allowed San Diego State to run for 334 yards last week.
To be fair, SDSU has one of the best running backs in college football that nobody talks about in senior Donnel Pumphrey, who had over 5,200 career yards from scrimmage to his name before he ran for 281 yards on Cal.
But he's listed at just 5'9 and 180 pounds, meaning D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III will both have a good 60 pounds on him and are almost as fast.
In their first game of the season, Cal allowed 248 yards on the ground to Hawaii (Hawaii!), a team that doesn't eschew the run like they did in the pass-wacky June Jones era, but averaged just 124 rushing yards per game in 2015.
And 248 rushing yards is also a lot for a team that was trailing by 17 points or more for the entire second half of the game in question.
Jerrod Heard ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns against Cal while playing quarterback a year ago. I predict he'll go for at least half of those figures in his receiving stats on Saturday.
Davis Webb will give UT's secondary some trouble and put up what will look like good stats on paper, but the Longhorn pass rush should be a lot better than the ones Cal has faced so far, and I predict Cal's season total for sacks allowed (four so far) will be doubled after the game.
This isn't a prediction so much as an observation, but this would be a great game for Collin Johnson to introduce himself to college football viewers since it's a homecoming of sorts for him, as he went to high school about an hour south of Berkeley.
Texas 41, Cal 27
Billy Becker — staff writer
Charlie Strong and staff put together a fine tune of the Texas engine and go after a time-trial standard before the bye week finale set up for the regular season.
The Horns have faced a balanced, strong offensive team, a weaker team with a weapon or two, and now take on a Tech replicant with a strong passing attack and a quick running game.
Cal may get more if the screens and delays to Muhammad are successful early in the game.
Texas 62, California 16
Robert Larkin — staff writer
You’ll look at this game and see all the signs of a classic trap game — first road trip, opponent with a high scoring offense, young team with extreme confidence after being ranked high.
Looking at the road record during Charlie Strong’s time in Texas, your worries may escalate even more, but this is a different Texas football team.
This Texas team has a high-scoring offense, a poised quarterback, and unbelievable talent at the skills positions.
Cal is going to provide a serious test for this football team, but I see this game as nothing more than a stepping-stone. Cal’s offense will challenge the ‘Horns secondary mightily, but I think Vance Bedford will devise a creative game plan to get pressure on Davis Webb, forcing the Cal quarterback into some bad decisions.
Chris Warren and D’Onta Foreman should have their way against a weak Golden Bears run defense, and Shane Buechele should continue his streak of good play. This game will be an offensive shootout for a while, but I expect the Longhorns to take care of business.
Texas 52, Cal 35
Michael Pelech — staff writer
Cal's run defense should be pretty bad. As in, Texas should rush for over 250 yards on the ground bad. While D'Onta Foreman should be back, and since Chris Warren III was the feature back against UTEP in his absence, this week I'm feeling Kyle Porter posts his first 100 yard performance as a Longhorn.
Foreman will get his early carries, and Warren will spell him. But if Texas is able to force turnovers (two interceptions by Davis Webb is my call) and the Horns jump ahead early, Porter's speed to the hole may be Texas's best chance at taking advantage of an un-athletic Cal defense while giving Foreman some extra rest.
Texas 49, Cal 31
Abram Orlanksy — staff writer
Despite screaming to myself "HOW WAS HE SO OPEN?!?!" about 6 times due to the Bear Raid offensive attack, the Texas running game and a few defensive stops ultimately result in a comfortable 45-30 victory.
Texas 45, Cal 30
Wes Crochet - staff writer
Week one against Notre Dame, I was proven wrong as I picked against the ‘Horns. Week two against UTEP, I picked the ‘Horns to win by a bigger margin than they did. This week, I’ll meet them in the middle.
Texas is still a relatively young team, we all know that. And when a young team travels, challenges can arise. I’m still picking Texas to win this game, and I feel good about that pick. But I’ve been wrestling with landing on a score that makes sense.
Against UTEP, we saw this Texas team come out sluggish and kind of play down to its competition early on in some regards. Texas is the better team in this one, but we may see somewhat of a close, competitive start to this game before Texas pulls away in the second half.
Texas wins in a high-scoring game and makes another statement to the college football nation.
Texas 45, Cal 27
Well, there you have it - a clean sweep for Texas in the ‘Horns first road game of the season. What say you? Who you got?