More Defense than Offense at Ole Miss

The Bears travel to the Deep South to take on the Rebels of Ole Miss at 9am(!) PDT. (What were they thinking?!) It’ll be hot, surprisingly NOT humid (under 50% for most of the game), and loud.

I’m going with Cal 16-13.  I think it all depends on who’s healthy, and as usual, Wilcox doesn’t say a damn thing.  But it looks like the damage from UNT isn’t quite as bad as I thought, especially on defense.

The best bet on this game is the Under on the O/U.  I just don’t see ’em breaking 40 with these defenses and these QBs.  I think the oddsmakers are making too much of Cal’s Top-25 ranking.  If Cal is able to win, they might not stay in the Top-25.

I picked the 16-13 score because I think Cal will finish the game with more FGs than TDs.  Looking for a pick-6…

Against UNT, Cal appeared to lose their top 2 OLBs on both sides.  Their status this week is unknown.  Ol Miss might set out to exploit Cal’s inexperience.

OK, check that.  OLB Cameron Goode should be starting; what looked like a ham pull was more likely a cramp.  RB Chris Brown should be back also.

The biggest question marks are with Cal’s OL.  Hopefully Valentino Daltoso will return to the starting lineup.  If he does, he might have to leave his OG position and play LT, where Bazakas was way too pourous.  UNT had 6 sacks!

With their original starting 5 at OL, Cal had a very good shot at being in the middle tier of the Pac-12 offenses.  But with 3 starters out against UNT, the OL struggled, both in the run and the pass.  That’s not a good combination with Chase Garbers, who isn’t quite trusting his instincts yet, is still thinking too much before he throws, and is looking to run — and not seeing wide open receivers.

Justin Wilcox will have a few of his usual tricks up his sleeve.  Now that #2 QB Devon Modster is eligible (I believe / hope), look for him to get some snaps, especially if Garbers doesn’t suddenly develop his pocket presence.  Modster is more of a traditional pocket passer than Garbers, and if he can deliver some good passes downfield, the Bears might break 20.  OTOH, having Modster as a capable backup allows Garbers to run more, both on scrambles and on RPOs.  That’s a facet of Cal’s offense that’s been underutilized the first 3 games, but is a dangerous weapon.

Also look for RB DeShawn Collins to get a few runs in, and possibly break a long gain.

Cal catches a big break on the weather.  Forecast is for about 81F at game start, 87F near the end, with projected humidity only about 51% at game start, 42% near the end.  The heat will be rough on the Bears.  Look for Ole Miss to get half (or more) of their points in the 4th quarter.


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