TwistNHook: Dude, whats the deal with Stroughter? Is he in? Is he out? According to this:
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=156162 He hasn’t played in a few weeks. How odd. Could dodge a bullet here.
YellowFever: Their whole special teams is falling apart, if I’m not mistaken. But I’ll be honest. I have no idea how they’re doing this year and no time to look them up. I’m in Minnesota on business and looking forward to spending my time after work today checking out the Mall of America, not looking into some Beavers. Though I do enjoy doing that during other times of the day.
TwistNHook: Did anybody else see that OSU-UCLA game? It was like 14-12 going into the 4th quarter. I turned it off and then when I checked back in, it was like 44-14. I was stunned. Turned out the returner fumbled 3 (!) kicks and UCLA got them all. Does this mean that UCLA is overrated? I think that question has already been answered. Does this also mean that Pete Alamar is moon-lighting as the OSU special teams coach? Probably.
Ragnarok: Turnovers have absolutely killed what should have been a decent Oregon State team. The lopsided losses at Cincinnati and against UCLA are both because of them. OSU has coughed up 6 fumbles on the year and 17 (!) interceptions, which is the most in the country. Their -9 turnover margin is worse than all but 5 teams in Division I-A.
In contrast, Cal has a +11 turnover margin, one of the best in the country. If this trend holds, I can’t see any way this game doesn’t get ugly.
Oh, and Sammy Stroughter will "certainly not play this week." He’s suffered from a bruised kidney (ouch!) for the past couple weeks. Tough break.
(at the bottom of the article)
TwistNHook: In the post Stanford-USC world, I don’t think Cal can rest on any laurels. I mean if USC can lose to Stanford, Cal could lose to ANY team. Even Stanford!
Nonetheless, I really think Cal has a good shot at winning this one. Then again, let’s not forget what happened last time we faced OSU at home. Perhaps the lowest point of the Tedford Era. Marshawn gets benched in the 2nd half due to fumbles and we lose by 3. Ayoob fails to move the ball and their punter repeatedly drops us inside the 10. And I had to sit there and listen to my friend complain that they weren’t showing enough shots of OSU’s backup QB, because she thought he was real hot. All in all, a brutal day.
YellowFever: I don’t think of this is as a post Stanford-USC world. I think of this as the post-Mr. Perfect world. After all, if Mr. Perfect can die…ANYONE can die. But the point is valid. Counting on Gerard Lawson to fumble three straight kicks seems like a longshot, especially when you remember that Pete Alamar is prominently involved. If Lawson muffed a kick, it’s probably even money at the point as to whether Cal recovers the ball or Lawson picks it up and goes for a touchdown.
HydroTech: As for the game this Saturday, with Oregon State seeming down and out, I think Tedford will just try to run the ball on them and control the game. On paper it seems like Cal would be an easy 24 point (or more) winner this Saturday but I wouldn’t be surprised if the margin isn’t that big due to Tedford’s gameplan.
I bring up the topic of margin of victory for obvious reasons: the BCS. We all know Tedford is above putting up unnecessary points to get the dub (W). But if Cal only wins by 14-17 points in the upcoming weeks and Ohio State keeps winning by 24 or so then I think easily swayed voters will start ranking Ohio State ahead of Cal. I suppose the best thing we can hope for is that if we’re winning and we put in our second string, that they are just so awesome that they keep scoring points.
Speaking of Ohio State, their out of conference games this year are: Kent State, Youngstown State, and Akron. All those opponents are within the state of Ohio. Kent State is 136 miles away from OSU. Youngstown State is 171 miles away from OSU. And Akron is 124 miles away from OSU. Talk about playing in your own backyard. That would sort of be like if Cal played San Jose State, Sacramento State, and Fresno State. Practically home games! Or in comparison, local California opponents of similar difficulty as Kent State, Youngstown State, and Akron might be CCSF, Berkeley High School, and Pacific! Hah! Can anyone say cupcakes? Ya know, Ohio State shouldn’t get a dub for beating Youngstown State. They should only get the win if they cover the spread. That’ll make things a little more fair.
Ragnarok: FWIW, Ohio State also played at Washington this year, which is at least a) a BCS conference team, and b) not in Ohio.
Also, back when Pacific used to have a football team, Pete Carroll used to play for them. He wanted to go to Berkeley, but couldn’t get admitted. Oh well.
OK, I went and looked up some statistics on the NCAA website. Here’s what I’ve got:
In Oregon State’s 3 wins this year (Utah, Idaho State, and Arizona), they’ve turned the ball over twice, once, and twice. Conversely, in their 3 losses (@ Cincinnati, @ Arizona State, UCLA), they’ve turned the ball over 7 times, 6 times, and 5 times. That’s terrible, and it’s no wonder they lost all three games. So while Oregon State is prone to turning the ball over, if they can manage to hang on to the ball this Saturday, they will be a tough team to beat.
What about their defense? Well, the numbers say it’s pretty good, especially against the run. In fact, Oregon State leads the nation in rushing defense; they’ve given up only 260 yards on the ground all year, a paltry 1.27 yards per carry, and only 43.3 yards per game. Numbers 2-5 in this category are Ohio State, Boston College, LSU and Oklahoma, who have 1 loss between them. Their pass defense isn’t so hot (246.7 yards per game, 82nd in the country), but their total defense is still 13th in the country at 290 yards per game. In contrast, Cal is 70th with 388.2 yards per game.
*However*…Their scoring defense isn’t so hot — 25.5 points per game, good for only 57th in Division I-A. Cal, despite ranking 57 spots behind them in total defense, actually beats Oregon State in scoring defense, giving up only 24.4 points per game for a rank of 53rd. What gives? Again, the answer is turnovers. Opponents keep getting short fields on which to work with, and so they put up points without putting up a lot of yardage. So which is it? Does OSU have a great defense that is continually put in bad situations by the turnover-prone offense? Or do they have a mediocre defense that doesn’t give up a lot of yards merely because opposing offenses find the end zone before racking up huge yardage? I’d bet it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.
TwistNHook: Last year ASU came to town early in the year sporting something like the 3rd best D in the nation. I forget the exact score in that game, but it was a lot to a lot less. I’m not going to bet my yet to be first born that it was 1,000-0. But it was. I can feel it!
This doesn’t mean we are going to beat OSU like wild west bandits, but I will be bringing my six shooter to the game. Oddly enough, you can’t bring in umbrellas, but you can bring in antiquated 19th century firearms. So, everybody grab your Whitney 1816 Musket and let’s militia it up at the Oak Grove! Let’s see if Runnie Dub loves the 2nd amendment as much as the 1st (I heard his favorite amendment is 12th, but that’s neither here nor there).
Anyway, the overarching theme of my ramblings here are that I don’t always put too much trust into these national numbers. In the NFL, things are a lot more standardized, but in college it’s really tough to ensure that OSU’s statistical metrics are the same to me as Cal’s statistical metrics. This would be a great time for OSU to prove that it’s D is at that level it claims to be. However, it would be a much better time for Cal to prove that OSU’s D is not at that level. I’d like that a lot more.
My concern in this game is stopping their running game. Saint Bernard seems to be their best offensive player by far. He bent Cal over back in 2005. If we can stop him, I will feel a lot better about winning this game.
Ah, what am I saying? I’m a Cal fan. I’ll feel a lot better about winning this game on Sunday after we’ve won it. We could be up 50-21 with 1 minute to go in the fourth and I’d be desperately trying to log into BearInsider on my cell phone to post about how Bob Gregory is a terrible coach for giving up that 21. And Tedford knows I wouldn’t be the only one posting that.
Ragnarok: Oh, and I suppose I ought to mention Alexis Serna, a former winner of the Lou Groza award, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate kicker. Serna’s now a senior, but this year, he’s handling punting duties as well for the first time. With mixed results. To put it kindly.
He doesn’t seem to have the leg for punting; perhaps that will mean fewer returns for DeSean Jackson (less ground for the coverage unit to cover), but good field position for us. Also, I’m betting Serna shanks one or two in an attempt to punt away from DeSean. That’s always fun. Who’s bringing rubber chickens to the game?