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Jason A. W.’s Pac-12 Predictions: Week 1

I’m projecting a 9-3 week for the Pac-12 this weekend. Not bad but not great. Obviously I hope I’m wrong and the Pac-12 goes 12-0. The Pac-12 play 3 teams from the WAC, including two which are considered upper echelon (Nevada being the other, and they play Oregon next week). The Pac-12 actually had a losing record against the WAC last year (0-2), granted they were against Nevada and Boise State on the road.

Montana St. (FCS) 10 – Utah 35: Montana State is an FCS team. They put a scare into Washington State last year losing 22-23, but Utah should win easy.

UC Davis (FCS) 10- Arizona State 48: UC-Davis opens up against another Pac-10/12 school this year. Arizona State uses this as a tune up game for the big showdown against Mizzou next week.

Minnesota (Big-10) 17 – USC 28: USC won pretty handily last year 32-21, but Lane Kiffin is still worried about overconfidence.

UCLA 27 – Houston (Conference USA) 45: UCLA won pretty handily last year 31-13 knocking out Case Keenam for the year when they were up 21-3. The Cougars will definitely be hungry for revenge.
Sacramento St. (FCS) 7 – Oregon St 30: The Beavers should handle Sacramento State with ease.
San Jose State 14 (WAC) – Stanford 45: The Andrew Luck Heisman Tour gets off to a fast start as Luck will be given a chance to pad his stats early in the year.
Idaho St 13 (FCS) – Washington St 21: The last 5 years, Wazzou’s opening games have included : @Auburn, @Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Stanford, and @Oklahoma State. Needless to say, this is a definite breather for a team looking to break out of the cellar this year.
E. Washington 16 (FCS) – Washington 41: Eastern Washington was the 2010 FCS Champions and the Huskies are breaking in Keith Price at QB but should still win easily. Eastern Washington doesn’t play as well off the red carpet.
Oregon 24 – LSU (SEC) 27: Trust me. I want to select Oregon. But the 3 large marquee games (Boise State, Ohio State, Auburn) which allowed for ample preparation for the spread option has resulted in (8, 17, 19) points for the Duck’s offense which means the Ducks would have to rely on their defense which now doesn’t have Casey Matthews, Kenny Rowe and Cliff Harris (1 game suspention). Yes, I know about the distractions and them missing their starting QB and #1 receiver Russell Shepard, but a lot of people believe and wanted Jarrett Lee to start over Jordan Jefferson and the pseudo “home-field” will put the Tigers over the top if I was a betting man.  LSU has not lost the Pac-10 since 1979 so please Oregon do us all a favor and win!!!
Northern Arizona 10 (FCS) –  Arizona 41: Nick Foles and Juron Criner’s aerial attack goes on full display before a huge game against #9 Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens next week.
Colorado 21 – Hawaii 39 (WAC): Hawaii is very tough to beat on the islands. Colorado won 31-13 last year. Ironically this game (because it’s being played in Hawaii) may damage the Buffalo’s bowl chances since they need 7 wins on a 13 game schedule to qualify for a bowl game.
Fresno St. 14 (WAC) – California 24: California relies heavily on defense and the running game while breaking in Zach Maynard.

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Shawn X.T.’s Pac-12 Predictions: Week 1

This week 8 Pac-12 teams play at home, 2 on the road, and 2 on neutral sites. I’m predicting that the Pac-12 will go 10-2 this week with losses from UCLA and Colorado.

Montana St. 7 – Utah 42: Covers spread (28)

UC Davis 10- Arizona State 48: Covers spread (35.5)

Minnesota 10 – USC 38: Covers spread (23.5)

UCLA 16 – Houston 34: Covers spread (3)

Sacramento St. 10 – Oregon St 52: Covers spread (28.5)

San Jose State 14 – Stanford 45: Covers spread (30)

Idaho St 13 – Washington St 31: Doesn’t cover spread (29)

E. Washington 14 – Washington 27: Doesn’t cover spread (19)

Oregon 50 – LSU 42: Covers spread (1.5)

Northern Arizona 17 –  Arizona 38: Doesn’t cover spread (28.5)

Colorado 17 – Hawaii 42: Covers spread (7)

Fresno St 7 – California 38: Covers spread (10)

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Shawn X.T.’s Weekday Links!

Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of your aggressions without going to jail for it. ~ Heywood Hale Brown

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[NFL 2011 Preseason Week 3] – Cal Alumni Position Battles

Week 3 of “fake football” is now over. We’ll look over some progress and news some Golden Bears are making in the NFL.

Desmond Bishop returns a pick-6 at the expense of Brett Favre.

Desmond Bishop has no fear of the Philadelphia Eagle’s dream team. Bishop as you recalled made a game saving tackle against former roommate and teammate DeSean Jackson on in week 1 of the playoffs. Bishop last year made the most of injuries to Brandon Chillar and Nick Barnett to secure a starting linebacker position and a new extension and is determined to be the best.

Scott Fujita has again secured the strong side linebacker position. Fujita has been impressed with the performance of the defense which included holding Michael Vick in check. The Browns have been a sexy sleeper pick to break out here and here.

Mike Gibson warms up before a preseason game

Mike Gibson has been battling injuries all preseason but is likely to still receive a spot on the team. Gibson won the tackle spot and started for the playoff game against the Saints and Bears. Gibson has also also been taking snaps at center backing up former Oregon star Max Unger.

Matt Giordano is projected not to make the final 53-man roster for the Oakland Raiders. It’s possible that since there have been a lot of injury issues at the safety position, he might sneak in the cut and not join fellow Golden Bear Derrick Hill as a Raider roster casualty.

Mike Mohamed makes a tackle against running back Thomas Clayton

Mike Mohamed is on the radar for a backup linebacker position and play on special teams due to his reputation as a hard worker. Woody Paige believes Mohamed will make the 53-man roster.

Mike Tepper played on the second team for the Colts in their preseason game against the Packers but hasn’t really shown enough according to this columnist to warrant a backup role. I’m sure he’s relieved he doesn’t have to don this haircut again.

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Practice Updates – Tuesday 8/30

This post will be updated when any additional media articles on Cal’s practices are posted.

  • Aaron Tipoti is back in full pads
  • Clay had some part in contact drills while Maurice Harris still needs a little more time to recover
  • RB Brendan Bigelow will most likely redshirt this season

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Shawn X.T.’s Weekday Links!

At the base of it was the urge, if you wanted to play football, to knock someone down, that was what the sport was all about, the will to win closely linked with. ~ George Plimpton


Questions of the Week

Every week Cal Football Blog will look at 5 most intriguing questions before Game Day.

1. Will Zach Maynard become the quarterback Cal can rely on?

Zach has not played a regulated game in over a year, and his only game against a BCS-AQ team was against Pitt. However, Zach did have 400 yards passing and 4 TD as he went 24/35 attempts that game. With Jeff Tedford becoming more involved with the development of the quarterbacks, Zach should have better mechanics and overall ability compared to his past games at Buffalo. Even though many people have said Maynard has good speed compared to past quarterbacks at Cal, he is not the Michael Vick-type who can give you at least 50 yards rushing a game. After some observation of Zach Maynard during spring and fall camp, Zach has shown a good arm and is able to get the ball to his receivers where they can have a chance to catch the ball, unlike in the past where our quarterbacks tended to under- or over-throw passes. However, Zach may need a little more zip in his ball and a better understanding of Tedford’s offense. At Buffalo, Zack threw 15 interceptions to his 18 touchdowns, which is a ratio that will not be tolerated at Cal. Against Fresno State this Saturday, Cal will finally see what Zach can bring for this great football team. He is probably going to come out the gate a little rusty but having trusty receivers in Marvin Jones and Zach’s brother Keenan Allen will help him settle into the BCS atmosphere.

2. Will Cal’s defense be as dominant as they were at home last season?

Cal lost many key players on defense at the end of last season including starters Mike Mohamed, Cameron Jordan, Chris Conte, Derrick Hill, and Darian Hagan. However, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is going into his second season at Cal after helping Cal’s defense become one of the best defenses in the Pac-12. There are many defensive leaders like Sean Cattouse and Mychal Kendricks that will continue to keep the defense focused and dominant. Cal may have the best depth on defense in the Pac-12 with many very talented players coming into the program including highly recruited NT Viliami “Tiny” Moala. Cal has a very dominant defensive line and reliable middle linebackers. Against Fresno State, Cal will see if the secondary has greatly improved from the year before after being blown up by opposing quarterbacks on many occasions. Also, we will see if we will have dominant pass rushing from first time starters David Wilkerson and walk-on Dan Camporeale, along with the freshman backups Chris McCain and Cecil Whiteside. Cal fans should only expect the best out of the defense going into Candlestick Park this Saturday.

3. Which freshman will become a star for Cal?

There are many true freshman and redshirt freshman this year that will have a fair share of playing time this season. On the defensive side, CB Stefan McClure has shown many bright spots this fall camp and will serve as a reliable backup to Marc Anthony and Steve Williams this year, but he will most likely not start this season unless one of two starters are injured. Tedford was full of praise for freshman outside linebacker Chris McCain, who showed great technique and speed during the fall, but lacks power and strength required to stop a bulldozing rushing game like Fresno State, which may be a reason why Dan Camporeale attained the starting spot. However, as the season goes on McCain may be able to grab the starting position. There are a lot of expectations from 350 pounder Viliami Moala, who is currently behind both Kendrick Payne and Aaron Tipoti for the NT position. Cal will most likely use Moala for short gain downs. There is great potential in backup redshirt freshman DL Gabe King, who can make big plays and turnovers with his size and athleticism. On the offensive side, speedy Kaelin Clay and soft handed Maurice Harris will have a chance at wide receiver this season. However, they are both currently behind four very good players at this position and most likely will not see much playing time unless they are on special teams or someone gets injured. There are no freshman starters and only one freshman backup (Chris Adcock) on the offense this season, but with inevitable injuries this season players like Chris Adcock, Jacob Wark, and Richard Rodgers should see good playing time this season. The only time that we may see the Cal freshmen’s real talent may be against Presbyterian, who we are expected to blow out (knock on wood).

4. Who will break out this season?

Not many players are on preseason all-conference or all-american lists, but we may see a good number at the end of the season. Senior Bryan Anger is expected to have a big season and possibly receive All-American honors at the end of the season. Everyone should keep an eye on both Cal’s starting receivers Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen, as they are expected to give a great performance this season. Many people are underestimating Isi Sofele this season, but running back Coach Ron Gould has had a 1,000 yard rusher for almost a decade now and he doesn’t plan to stop this season. OT Mitchell Schwartz was reliable for Cal last season, but will need to stay healthy this season to keep the all-important offensive line intact. On the defensive side, Mychal Kendricks has moved to middle linebacker, but we can expect him to become one of the best linebackers in the country and earn All-Pac 12 honors. Steve Williams and Sean Cattouse may have big seasons this year, and will see a lot of action as Cal faces the best quarterbacks in the nation. There isn’t as much preseason spotlight on a single defensive lineman like the past couple seasons with Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu, but expect Trevor Guyton to change that over the course of the season.

5. With Tedford controlling the offense again, will Cal become as good as they were half a decade ago?

This all depends on the execution of the offense from Cal’s players and the health of the offensive line. As long as every person is doing what they need to do, Cal’s offense will do fine. With Tedford making game-time decisions again, our offense will most likely be better than the year before. If not, Tedford will definitely be on the hot seat at the end of the season. Cal’s first test, Fresno State, will be a good barometer on if and how our offense has progressed since last season.


Official Depth Chart Released

With the season opener vs. Fresno State less than a week away, Cal has released its first official depth chart of the season:

Also included is a link to the 2011 Information Guide (formerly known as the Media Guide):

Some notables:

– Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson is the #2 RB, ahead of C.J. Anderson

– Chris Adcock & Justin Gates are the top backups at guard

– Mustafa Jalil has made the 2-deep as a backup DE, along with Gabe King

– Dan Camporeale is listed as the starter at one OLB spot, ahead of Ryan Davis

– Marvin Jones is the #1 PR, while Mike Manuel is one of the starting KRs