Bowl eligibility on the line in Oregon-Cal showdown

Here are five things to watch when Cal visits Oregon this weekend in Eugene. With both teams at 5-3, bowl eligibility is on the line, and all statistics are pointing to this being a tight on in Autzen.

1. Cal QB Jared Goff vs. Oregon’s secondary: Goff must be salivating. This Ducks secondary has been porous this season, and even though it has made strides in recent games, there are still plenty of deficiencies to pick apart for Goff, who has the third-highest adjusted QBR in the Pac-12 (and more bad news for Ducks: They get the best and second-best QBR over the following two games). Oregon can expect a similar pass attack to what it saw against Washington State (considering Sonny Dykes worked for Mike Leach), but the Bears use a bit more of a run element, which keeps defenses honest. The Ducks will need to do what they can to contain the big plays -- Goff has 38 passes of 20-plus yards this season.

2. Oregon QB Vernon Adams Jr.’s continued growth: Even in the week between the Washington and Arizona State games, Adams made some pretty obvious strides in his game. With every game he’s healthy, he’s becoming more and more confident within the offense. And the more he picks up, the more we’re going to see some tempo offense out of the Ducks as the play-call communication from sideline to Adams and then to the rest of the offense becomes a bit smoother. The Cal defense is much improved, so it’ll be a good test for where Adams is.

3. How much could weather affect the game? There’s a 90 percent chance of rain Saturday in Eugene. It’s not expected to be a lot (a quarter of an inch is forecast that day) and the wind won’t be too much of a factor (just 5 to 10 mph), but it’s still rain, which means passing games could be affected. The Ducks are more accustomed to adapting, having done so when Adams was out earlier this season. So the rain could affect Goff a bit more, though perhaps Dykes will go to the Leach playbook on weather, too: Even with the rain in Pullman, Washington, last weekend, WSU coach Leach had quarterback Luke Falk attempt 61 passes.

4. How well does Oregon take care of the ball? No Pac-12 team has been better at turning turnovers into points this season than Cal. The Bears have 12 interceptions and a conference-best 10 fumble recoveries. And they’ve taken those turnovers and turned them into 83 points, meaning the Ducks need to take ball security seriously. Turnover margin is important in every game -- arguably the most important stat in football -- but it’ll be even more important against the Bears, a team that is very good at capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes.

5. Ducks' run game: Look for Oregon to use running back Royce Freeman even more Saturday than usual, particularly if the rain is messing with the timing between Adams and his receivers. Though the Cal run defense has been stout its past two games -- it didn’t give up a single 100-yard game to any Bruin or Trojan -- it did struggle to slow Utah’s Devontae Booker (222 yards, two touchdowns) when the teams played Oct. 10. Freeman, who watches a lot of film, has undoubtedly checked that game out, and Freeman’s physical running (similar to Booker’s) is going to be a tough matchup for the Bears.