Arizona's ground game hasn't fallen off despite missing Nic Grigsby. California, meanwhile, has to hope it handles Jahvid Best's loss just as well.
The 18th-ranked Wildcats may again be without Grigsby as they try to keep pace in the Pac-10 race, but they'll face a Golden Bears team trying to get by without one of the nation's top rushers Saturday night.
Though Grigsby (sprained right shoulder) missed a matchup with Washington State last Saturday, Arizona (6-2, 4-1) rushed for 294 yards in a 48-7 win. Four different players rushed for at least 40 yards to make up for the loss of Grigsby, who has 535 yards and five touchdowns.
Greg Nwoko, Grigsby's backup, also missed the game with a shoulder sprain, but Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said he might play against the Golden Bears (6-3, 3-3).
Stoops had more good news this week, saying defensive end Brooks Reed will likely start versus the Bears. Reed returned to the lineup against the Cougars after missing three games with a high ankle sprain and had a sack.
Arizona has the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the nation, allowing 96.0 yards per contest. The Wildcats won't have to face Best as they try to at least stay within one-half of first-place Oregon in the Pac-10.
California lost 31-14 to Oregon State last Saturday, losing Best and its No. 23 spot in the poll. Best was released from the hospital Sunday and will miss at least one game after sustaining a concussion on a fall in the end zone in the second quarter.
Best spent the night at a hospital in Oakland for observation and tests after vaulting into the air, landing on the back of his head and being briefly knocked unconscious on a 7-yard TD run.
"We are relieved and thankful that Jahvid has been released from the hospital and that his CT scans and X-rays have come back normal," Bears coach Jeff Tedford said.
Best, whose helmet popped off upon his impact in the end zone, sustained a slight concussion the previous week in a 23-21 win over Arizona State, so Tedford is being especially cautious.
Best, one of the country's most dynamic players, has 16 TDs and 867 rushing yards. Shane Vereen, who has 386 yards rushing and eight touchdowns overall, will replace Best in the starting lineup.
Arizona seems to have caught a break as it tries to end a three-game losing streak at Berkeley, where it has been outscored 114-41 during that skid.
Another loss to Cal, though, wouldn't be disastrous. The Wildcats can afford a loss to the Bears or Arizona State and still earn their first Rose Bowl berth.
If Arizona beats the Ducks and USC, it could finish with two league losses and still own the tiebreaker against every other team.
Stoops, however, doesn't want the Wildcats' wiggle room to cause complacency. He hasn't outlined the different scenarios with his players.
"All they know is we're in a good position," he said. "That would be childish to explain that to them. They understand exactly what's at stake. They can count very well, and they understand what wins and losses do for you."
Cal has fallen to .500 in conference play after winning its previous three. The Bears struggled following Best's injury, finishing with 239 total yards after averaging 39.0 points during their winning streak.
Quarterback Kevin Riley completed 19 of 34 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown while also throwing an interception. He came back after being helped off the field following a hard hit just before halftime.
Riley has passed for 2,005 yards and 14 TDs while getting picked off three times. He faced Arizona for the first time last season, completing 7 of 19 passes for 97 yards with an INT in Cal's 42-27 loss on Oct. 18, 2008.
That tied the series between the teams 13-13-2.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every College Football game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.
Arizona starts a daunting four-game conference stretch that could end with the Wildcats headed to the Rose Bowl. But first Arizona will have to beat Cal, which will be without star RB Jahvid Best. The Wildcats are trying to end a three-game losing streak at Berkeley.