Cal heads into its game at Arizona State looking to accomplish two things: guarantee a winning season and help its bowl positioning.
“You come out of an emotional game like [Stanford], it’s really important that we finish strong,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “There is still a lot to play for.”
The Bears (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12 North) currently sit tied for seventh in the Pac-12 hierarchy and would be slated for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, but a win Friday could improve their standing with the Sun Devils (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12 South) only one game in front of them.
Arizona State remains in a fight for a share of the Pac-12 South title, which could put them in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference championship.
The Sun Devils trail UCLA by one game for the division lead and are tied with Washington and Utah with a 4-4 record in the conference.
Utah hosts Colorado and Washington plays Washington State. UCLA plays cross-town rival Southern Cal.
Cal dropped the 114th Big Game at No. 4 Stanford last week 31-28, but led the Cardinal 13-7 early in the second quarter before Andrew Luck led the Cardinal comeback.
Zach Maynard had one of his more impressive outings with 280 yards on 20-for-30 passing with two touchdowns.
The 28 points was the third most allowed by Stanford this season.
Keenan Allen continues to come up big for the Bears and is on pace to challenge for the single-season school records in receptions (100) and yards (1,504).
Allen stands at 84 receptions and 1,200 yards to go along with six touchdown catches.
Arizona State, which has been ranked as high as 18th this season, has lost four of its past five after starting conference play with a 3-0 record.
The lone win in that stretch came against last-place Colorado in a 48-14 win. In that same period, Arizona State has allowed an average of 30.4 points per game.
But Cal’s top-ranked defense will still have to face an imposing offense with Arizona State. The Sun Devils offense has not missed a beat and has scored at least 27 points in eight straight games.
“They do such a great job of spreading you out and getting the ball in dangerous guys’ hands in space,” Tedford said.
Arizona State junior quarterback Brock Osweiler has thrown for 3,377 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 1,100 yards and six touchdowns going to senior Gerell Robinson.
A win Friday would also secure the Bears their ninth winning season in 10 years under Tedford.
Cal vs. Arizona State
WHEN: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
WHERE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: KGO (810 AM)