By Brad Carroll
One College Football Playoff contender will get an early chance on national television to prove exactly how deserving they are of breaking into the top four, as sixth-ranked Oregon takes on California Friday night at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The Ducks have one loss this season, to then-unranked Arizona, so they need to make a statement in this opportunity with the spotlight solely on them.
We preview and our college football experts pick the game against the spread below. Check back for our full previews and picks of a full-slate of Saturday games and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on all of our previews, analysis and picks.
No. 6 Oregon vs. California at Levi's Stadium, 10 p.m., FS1
The Spread: Oregon -18.5; California +18.5
Brad's Breakdown: Even though Oregon is currently in prime position to move into one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff, the road to playing for a championship won't be easy. The Ducks' loss to then-unranked Arizona at home looms as a large albatross on their resume. The two teams ahead of them in the AP poll, and the one directly below them, all lost to better teams than the Ducks. Alabama lost to Ole Miss, Auburn lost to Mississippi State and Notre Dame lost to Florida State. Those three winners own the 1-2-3 spots in the current poll. So, Oregon is going to have to make people forget about its loss to Arizona, and the only way to do that is to win out and do so impressively. The Ducks have done that so far, in beating UCLA two weeks ago and Washington last week after that loss to Arizona. Now, they get to do it again against California. Oregon, led by Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, has had great success against the Golden Bears in the past, winning five straight games by an average of 30 points. Oregon won 55-17 last year at home and beat Cal 59-17 two years ago on the road. California allows 391.7 yards passing a game and has let up 26 touchdown passes, both of which dubiously lead the nation. California nearly pulled the upset of UCLA last week, however, before losing 36-34. Cal had the ball at the UCLA 36 with under a minute to play, but Jared Goff was intercepted at the 2 to seal the game for the Bruins. A week earlier, Cal lost to Washington 31-7. Oregon will get another statement victory Friday night.
Brad's Score: Oregon 56, California 28
Craig's Score: Oregon 49, California 24
Glenn's Score: Oregon 48, California 20
Matt's Score: Oregon 58, California 20
Brad Last Week: 4-7 (spread), 8-3 (straight-up), 0-0 (upset picks)
Brad Season: 47-47 (spread), 69-25 (straight-up), 5-5 (upsets)
Craig Last Week: 6-5 (spread), 8-3 (straight-up), 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig Season: 43-51 (spread), 66-28 (straight-up), 5-8 (upsets)
Glenn Last Week: 6-5 (spread), 6-5 (straight-up), 0-2 (upset picks)
Glenn Season: 52-42 (spread), 70-24 (straight-up), 6-5 (upsets)
Matt Last Week: 7-4 (spread), 8-3 (straight-up), 0-0 (upset picks)
Matt Season: 48-46 (spread), 69-25 (straight-up), 3-4 (upsets)