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Oregon State had better not go to sleep on California.

Yes, Cal is 3-8 and reeling in what could be Jeff Tedford’s final season as coach.

And the Bears are likely without quarterback Zach Maynard and stick-out receiver Keenan Allen, both injured and not expected to play Saturday.

But these aren’t quite the Bad News Bears. They showed plenty of life for 2 1/2 quarters last Saturday against Oregon before the bottom fell out. The Bears rushed for 236 yards and stuffed the run until Marcus Mariota’s arm softened them in the second half.

Cal beat up on UCLA and gave Ohio State all it could handle earlier in the year. It’s enough to give OSU coach Mike Riley pause. The Beavers aren’t good enough to beat many teams with their “C” game, which means the Bears have a fighting chance.

Tailback Isi Sofele averages 5.1 yards per carry and scatback Brendan Bigelow reminds me of De’Anthony Thomas. Can’t let the little guy get into open space.

Oregon State is the better team, with or without Cody Vaz at quarterback. Mariota exposed Cal’s secondary with 377 yards through the air. Sean Mannion ought to be able to have some success with the vertical passing game, too, if his offensive line gives him time.

OSU’s defense will have to control the line of scrimmage and force Cal QB Allan Bridgford to throw. If that happens, I like the Beavers’ chances.

THE PICK — Oregon State 34, California 17

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