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Jason A.W.’s Pac-12 Predictions: Week 8

Didn’t do as well as I hoped last week because of a couple of homer picks.

[Overall predictions]: 42-11 [Last Week]: 4-2

UCLA 24 at ARIZONA 34 (Thursday): This is probably the hardest pick for the week I think the Zona Zoo pulls this one out.

WASHINGTON 26 at STANFORD 45: Stanford has the 119th ranked schedule in the country thanks to a soft non-conference schedule and not having to play USC, Oregon, or ASU yet in conference play. This should provide a stiffer test for the men in red, but I think they still win comfortably.

UTAH 27 at CAL 30: Both teams are 0-3 in conference play and desperately need this win to boost their bowl chances in this rematch of the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl which the Utes won 37-27 which marked the was the game after the 42-10 Washington disaster which begun the Bear’s losing funk.

USC 27 at NOTRE DAME 24: I would totally bet the spread in Vegas if I get the chance. Beeno Cooke said on his radio show last year’s win (against Mitch Mustain might I add) was the sign of the beginning of the tide in this series which while recently has been dominated by the Men of Troy, still favors the Golden Domers by 10. I believe USC still has too much NFL talent and I would appreciate a win to end all this Notre Dame to BCS bowl talk which was surfaced again.

OREGON STATE 28 at WASHINGTON STATE 27 (in Seattle): I’ve picked the Beavers 4 times to win this year when they’ve lost and one of the times I didn’t pick them, they won. I’ll stubbornly pick them again because of 1) Mike Riley’s late season track record. 2) Revenge for Wazzou spoiling their bowl chances last year. 3) Game taking place at an almost neutral site. 4) Beavers now have stability at quarterback with Sean Mannion

OREGON 56 at COLORADO 21:  Likely no LMJ, but no matter. The Ducks will keep at least one of the Pac-12 newcomers winless in conference play so far.


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Questions of the Week

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

1. Is Zach Maynard really our best quarterback?

The short answer is yes. He performed the best over spring to fall camp and Tedford trusts him. However, Zach Maynard accounted for 4 of Cal’s 5 turnovers against USC. He seems to try to force plays that aren’t there while showing a lot of discomfort as a pocket passer. Zach looked more comfortable rolling out to his left when he passes. As of now, QB coach Marcus Arroyo and Tedford, the former QB guru, is not getting the fixes needed for Zach to compete against the speed of the PAC-12.

2. How hot is Tedford’s seat?

Let’s just say that it is getting warmer. He will not get fired nor will he step down even if the Bears don’t make a bowl. He is the reason that there is a high expectation at Cal and the reason that the SAHPC is being built. However, starting 0-3 in conference play is does not help at all. The Bear’s schedule should be better , but if they do not win the next 3/4 games to gain a bowl bid, the Cal fan base will become furious. There are already frustration from the fan base towards Tedford, so if the Bears don’t make a bowl game this season, Tedford’s seat will be very hot next season.

3. After starting 0-3 in conference play, can the Bears turn it around?

It is very possible for the Bears to win the next four teams. Cal will play Utah this Saturday, who is also 0-3 in conference play with their starting QB Jordan Wynn out for the game. However, they had a great defensive performance against Pitt last Saturday. The good thing is that the game is at home. After that Cal will face UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon state. Cal will most likely be favored for all those games, but Cal has been known to lose one or two of those should-win games. The good thing right now is that the young players is picking things up faster while most of the veteran players are fairly healthy. With strong leadership and coaching, Cal has a great chance at winning out the next four games.

4. How will the health of the defense effect Cal for the next few games?

The biggest concern on the defense is Cal’s most solid player, Mychal Kendricks. He is still a maybe for Utah’s game. His backup is JP Hurrell or Robert Mullins, both are smart players but not nearly as productive as Mychal Kendricks. While Marc Anthony was out, true freshman Stefan McClure did a solid job in containing Robert Woods to under 40 yards receiving. Marc is still questionable for Utah, but Cal should be okay at CB as long as everyone else stays healthy.

5. Will the offense actually do something against Utah?

Luckily Cal has one of the best wide receivers in the nation in Keenan Allen. However, Maynard sometimes forces too many balls to him. Overall, the wide receivers have been very solid for the offense. The only issue may be the offensive line trying to give Maynard a little more protection and just a little better run blocking for Isi because Cal’s running game was nowhere against USC. However, the offensive line’s discipline has become much better under Coach M and the snaps have been much better. It looks like Coach M is slowly improving the offensive line. However, one big injury on the offense, may really hurt the Bears because of the lack of depth.

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[NFL 2011 Regular Season Week 6] – Cal Alumni News

Chris Conte has made a seamless transition from the Cal Bears to the Chicago Bear's secondary

3 Up

Chris Conte had a strong debut at the safety position on Sunday night football earning rave reviews from ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson and from the Chicago Tribune. Conte might want to send a thank you card to Jahvid Best for burning Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather untouched for 88 yards on Monday night football which forced coach Lovie Smith to make a change in the secondary. Conte’s hard work on special teams and in practice contributed to his recent promotion.

Kyle Boller is tentatively the Raider’s starting quarterback for now after a season ending collarbone injury to Jason Campbell will end his 2011 season. Boller came in relief and largely played the role of caretaker completing 8 passes for 100 yards holding onto the 24-7 lead the Raiders built. Boller is going to have to hold off pressure from the fan base to play Terrelle Pryor as well as a possibility of the organization going out and recruit David Garrard or Carson Palmer. If Boller can hang on to the starting quarterback position, we might have an all Cal QB showdown in Green Bay on December 11th.

Andre Carter had two sacks and contributed to an outstanding game plan to confuse Tony Romo. The Patriot’s line play was its biggest question mark outside of wide receiver in last year’s loss to the Jets in the playoffs. Pro bowler Vince Wilfork handed Carter much complements after last weeks win over the Jets.

3 Down (Deltas)

Tyson Alualu has gotten off to a slow start in 2011 after a terrific rookie campaign. A nagging knee injury is to blame. However it didn’t stop Alualu from bull rushing LG Doug Legursky of the Steelers and dislocating his left toe this past Sunday.

Thomas DeCoud was largely the goat following last Sunday’s loss to the Packers where he gave up the big 70 yard bomb to James Jones and missed out on a potential sack of Aaron Rodgers the play before. DeCoud worked hard to earn his starting safety position back after a benching in the beginning of the year. DeCoud did pick off Cam Newton this past weekend on the final play of the game to pad his interception count.

Ryan Longwell , normally reliable and the only other Viking worth owning outside of Adrian Peterson at this point in fantasy, missed a 38 yard field goal near the end of the first half which pretty much eliminated any minute chance of a Viking’s comeback Sunday night. Longwell also failed to kick the ball into the end zone which lead to another Devin Hester kickoff return for a touchdown. Here’s an interesting article on how Longwell, along with his long snapper and punter, have been together for 6+ years contributing to what normally is a stable kicking environment in the Northern part of the country.

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Cal Still Cannot Get Over USC’s Mystique

California has yet to catch up with USC 2 years into its probation

Eight years and eight USC victories. The story of my life for anyone who entered Cal as a freshman in 2004 like I did. We heard all about 2003. The upset, 34-31, storming of the field, and a promise this was a sign for things to come. Unfortunately, replays from that historic night, September 27th, 2003, as still the only replay Comcast can show of the Bears taking on the Trojans in recent times. I’m tired of watching the same game highlights of Aaron Rodgers getting hurt, Reggie Robertson throwing the same touchdowns and Tyler Fredrickson nailing the game winner followed by the same students storming onto the field after the game. We were competitive for the most part initially at first losing on last minute drive against elite teams in 2004 and 2007, then playing in 2006 even until the 4th quarter. However, recently it has been one embarrassing blowout one night or the other including the one last Thursday 30-9. It doesn’t matter who we’ve had: Aaron Rodgers, DeSean Jackson, or Marshawn Lynch. What uniforms we wore: Joe Roths or Yellows. The weather or time of day. Jeff Tedford is now 1-9 against USC over his career. If Tedford hopes to keep his job , he’s going to need to start beating teams in red uniforms soon (Stanford included) or else he might only have a one year honeymoon with new Memorial Stadium. A stadium which is was largely responsible for building. The Bears need to realize if we don’t start beating USC now, at least once before it hits 2 digits, the pain of finally ending the streak we get more and more daunting every year. Whether the Trojans still have the mystique they did in the early to mid 2000s, much like the early Yankees and Celtics teams did in which they psychologically have the momentum of the game before the clock counts down is debatable. But Washington has found a way to break through the past two years and Stanford has beaten USC 3 out of the last 4. But with new potential recruits who would could fill position of great need(offensive line and wide receiver) and Shaq Thompson looking on, it was clear the Bears have much to do if they ever want to live up to their “California” name.