Cal and UCLA face the das­tardly road back-to-back

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - SPORTS -

Four

Wins by road team in the sec­ond game: One

The vic­tory came cour­tesy of Utah, which won at Stan­ford in Week Six af­ter a trip to Wash­ing­ton State.

(A 1-8 record with Utah pro­vid­ing the only win? That sounds fa­mil­iar.)

Here are the losses in the sec­ond game of the road back-to-back for any­one who hasn’t kept track (which is prob­a­bly ev­ery­one)

Wash­ing­ton at Ore­gon, Stan­ford at Notre Dame, Ari­zona State at Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon at Ari­zona, USC at Texas, Utah at Ari­zona State, Ari­zona at UCLA and Colorado at Wash­ing­ton.

In only two of those eight cases did the road team sig­nif­i­cantly out­per­form the point spread.

In three cases, the road team was blown out (rel­a­tive to the point spread).

Let’s not treat this as a sci­en­tific study, or even a bad imi­ta­tion of a sci­en­tific study. Not yet.

Two of the nine in­stances in­volved non-con­fer­ence games, an­other in­volved an over­time loss (Wash­ing­ton at Ore­gon) Ross Bow­ers was one of three Cal quar­ter­backs who saw ac­tion in the 2018 opener against North Carolina this sea­sonn.

and two were im­pacted by in­juries to the road team’s quar­ter­back (Utah at Ari­zona State and Ari­zona at UCLA).

Ev­ery con­fer­ence sched­ules back-to­back road games. The Pac-12 does it more fre­quently than any other Power Five ex­cept the ACC, but it’s un­avoid­able, par­tic­u­larly with a nine-game con­fer­ence sched­ule.

And play­ing back-to-back road­ies sure doesn’t ap­pear as dif­fi­cult as play­ing a Fri­day road game af­ter a Satur­day road game — a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage so

egre­gious, even a sports­writer could spot it.

But com­mon sense and anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests the back-to-back road­ies in­creases the chances for de­feat, es­pe­cially as we get later in the sea­son and in­juries and fa­tigue mount.

Let’s see what hap­pens with the up­com­ing cases, then take a full as­sess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion.

We’ll have a de­cent sam­ple size by sea­son’s end, with in­stances in­volv­ing 11 of the 12 teams. Only Wash­ing­ton State drew the long straw.

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