A night-after-Halloween match with the Beavs in the stadium that Potato Salad built is almost as bad as a Halloween night match with them but I’ll take it. Cal is staggering after 3 consecutive losses and OSU after 2. Worse for OSU, they are supposed to be led by one of the best passers in the league. Sean of the Dead was supposed to break the yardage record last week but he basically DNPed against ‘furd and if the weather cooperates (unfortunately no rain forecast for tonight) he might not break the record tonight. Cal remains one of the top 5 passing teams and 11th in scoring in the Soft Drink Playoff Division but holy mother of God is the defense killing us. Has any team in history given up 56, 59 and 59 points and won 2 out of those 3 games? Probably not. Tonight is the chance for the defense to step up big time against a team showing average numbers for passing and bottom of the barrel numbers for rushing. The Large Brown Rodents will have Storm Woods back in action and this guy has had his breakout games against Cal, but a wet field and good linebacker play should keep him in check. Whether Sean of the Dead can resurrect his game against Cal is the pivotal question and this is chance for Cal’s non-existent pass rush to create some havoc. Last year they had all-world receiver Brandin Cooks to burn secondaries. This year is another story.
As for the Cal offense, it is statistically one of the best in the country, and but for turnovers and misfires, the Washington and Oregon games would have been competitive if not outright W’s. For a young team it is a remarkable accomplishment to put that many yards and points on the board – the problem being that points for is 332 vs 328 points against. Cal’s deep receiver corps is beaten up so it would make sense to get more productivity (running and receiving) from Cal’s deep and not-quite-so-beaten up rushers, including Rubenzer who lined up at receiver on a couple of plays last week. Rodents are favored but with bowl bids on the line for both teams, I’ll give Cal the edge at 35-21.
In the rest of the P-12, more decisive games pitting the top teams in the Norris and Queen of England divisions. ‘furd travels to ‘gon to determine the fate of the Norris. A Quack win puts them 2 games up. Every other team in the Norris has at least 3 P-12 losses. Quacks are almost a 2 TD favorite but weird things happen in these games so expect it to either go down to the wire or be a wild blow-out. My money is on the blow-out as Oregon looked very good last week.
The Queen of England division has more parity with 5 teams at 1 or 2 losses, and 4 of those teams playing one another. ‘tah vists the Devs and ‘zona visits ‘la with the QoE division up for grabs – the winners will be in the drivers seat. Utah has the toughest stretch ahead with Oregon, ‘furd and ‘zona. If the Solarians get by the Utes, then they have the easiest path with only ‘zona in their way. ‘zona will have to get by Utah and UCLA has $C and ‘furd left on their schedule (plus they already have 2 conference losses). Utah has squeaked by in their last 3 games so expect the Solarians to prevail and I like ‘zona over ‘la.
In other action, who knew that we’d be reading up on the tailgating techniques in the Grove at Ole Miss. Or that we’d all learn where Mississippi State was located (both the University and the State). It would be nice to see some teams besides Florida, Alabama or LSU in the national championship so let’s hope that these guys keep winning.