"The number one thing I want to get out via my blog this week is that we need ALL of our fans this Saturday for Arizona State. Our fans have been great all season, and we really need you to step up again this week against a very good Sun Devil team. When we went to Tempe last year, they had a great environment - a very hostile and tough place for us to play. We NEED to repay that favor to them. Let's have everyone put on their blue and gold and get out to the stadium early and ready to scream. We need noise; we need to do everything we can to make it tough for them to focus and communicate and to pump up our players. It was great to be back home last Saturday; having the home crowd was definitely an asset against Colorado State and that support helps our guys make plays like the blocked punt, the interception return and Syd'Quan's punt return touchdown. It's Pac-10 play now so we need to leave everything on the field and we want you, our fans, to leave everything you have at the stadium. See you all Saturday at 12:30 and don't forget, we need you loud, very loud!"
Cal / ASU Facts:
Aug. 30 - WIN -- CAL 38 Michigan State 31 S
ept. 6 - WIN – CAL 66 WSU 3
Sept. 13 – loss – Maryland 35 CAL 27
Sept. 27 - WIN -- CAL 42 Colorado State 7
Oct. 4 - Arizona State (Homecoming & Alumni Band Day) at 12:30pm on ABC
Oct. 18 - at Arizona at 7pm on Fox Sports Arizona and Comcast Sports Net West
Oct. 25 - UCLA at TBA
Nov. 1 - Oregon at TBA
Nov. 8 - at USC at 5pm on ABC/ESPN
Nov. 15 - at Oregon State at TBA
Nov. 22 - Stanford at 12:30pm
Dec. 6 - Washington at noon or 5pm on Fox Sports or ESPN/ESPN2
California senior center Alex Mack (51) is one of an elite group of thirty NCAA Division I student-athletes that has been chosen as candidates for the inaugural Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in football. To be eligible for the football award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior (in the Football Bowl Subdivision only) and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition.
From Steven Harris:
Hello and Go Bears! It’s Arizona State Week! And it’s HOMECOMING!
Game 5: Cal (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) v. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2, 1-0 Pac-10)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 4, 12:30 pm PST
Location: Memorial Stadium (71,799 capacity (no tarps anymore?), Momentum Turf)
TV/Radio: ABC (regional coverage)/KGO 810 AM/XM Satellite Radio (Chs. 193-95)
History: Cal trails 14-13; Cal lost 31-20 in ’07; Cal is 4-1 vs. ASU in the Tedford Era
Rankings: Cal received more votes in the polls but isn’t ranked yet; ASU is unranked too
Point Spread: Cal by 9
Opponent’s colors: Maroon and Gold
Cal’s standing amongst Pac-10 (#5 rated conference) and various opponents (from Sagarin ratings, which is one of five computer rankings that contribute to the BCS rankings):
National rank Team
3 $C (lost to Oregon State 27-21; hosts Oregon and ASU next 2 wks)
47 stanfurd (won at 0-4 Washington 35-27; at Notre Dame next)
65 Arizona State (lost to UNLV and to Georgia at home; bye week 9/27)
REVIEW OF COLORADO STATE
Cal’s defense was great, special teams were uneven, sophomore running back Jahvid Best (4) got
hurt, the passing game was terrible, but Cal beat Colorado State 42-7. What happened? This:
Ø DEFENSE! Cal got four sacks, 3 interceptions, 9 tackles for loss, and 6 passes broken up! Junior free safety Brett Johnson (25) intercepted a pass and returned it for a TD!
Ø Special Teams good news: averaging 1 blocked field goal or punt return for a touchdown per week. A first in Cal history! Cal returned a blocked punt 56 yards for a TD and returned a punt for a TD! Bad news: kickoffs out of bounds and short kickoffs has Coach Tedford considering whether to invite soccer players to try out!
Ø Quarterback Controversy? Coach Tedford said that he replaced sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley (13) with senior quarterback Nate Longshore (6) in the 2nd half because “Kevin was missing too many open receivers.” Riley completed 6 of 13 passes for 59 yards and a TD while Longshore completed 9 of 13 for 100 yards and two scores.
Ø INJURIES: Jahvid Best suffered a dislocated left elbow and at best, he’ll miss only this week’s game. BAD NEWS on the offensive line: two starters are out until Nov./Dec. BAD NEWS on the defensive line: freshman defensive end Kendrick Payne (96) is out for the year and senior defensive end Rulon Davis (94) (leg injury) is out for six weeks.
Ø In other words… the 42-7 score betrays a weak passing game and significant injuries. Cal can’t expect the defense and special teams to produce like this every week.
PREVIEW OF ARIZONA STATE (it’s Homecoming too!)
Cal overall concerns: both teams desperately need this game… the winner gets the inside track to exploit the “hope $c loses one more time” sweepstakes. ASU knows it has little chance at $C next week. If ASU loses this game, the Sun Devils careen from top-10 hopeful to a devastated season. If Cal can’t generate a decent passing attack, everyone will plug the line of scrimmage to stop the run and Cal has no chance against the top half of the conference. Welcome back last year’s mediocrity, Axe struggles and low-level bowl game!
Cal’s Offense: no passing game, no victory!
Ø Losing Jahvid Best this week won’t matter because ASU will do what Maryland did: stack the line of scrimmage with 8 defensive players and force Cal to throw to beat them.
Ø Coach Tedford has an interesting dilemma. Riley and the receivers (who still drop catchable balls!) aren’t clicking well. The last time Longshore played when the outcome was in doubt, he threw two interceptions in a matter of minutes. Who do ya trust?
Cal’s Defense: pressure the quarterback!
Ø Arizona State’s running game is ranked last in the Pac-10 and 110th nationally! If Cal can get a pass rush against ASU like it did against Colorado State, things will break down for the Pac-10’s top passing offense. Watch the tape of the Georgia-ASU game!
Ø Cal needs the sacks, the interceptions, and the pressure to make a difference this week! Defensive end Rulon Davis’ availability will be critical as a result!
TURNOVERS AND SPECIAL TEAMS
Ø Cal has the Pac-10’s #1 turnover margin (20th nationally)… and Arizona State is #8 in the conference (89th nationally). ASU’s kickoff coverage team is ranked 103rd nationally… the Sun Devils gave up a punt block and a fumble against Georgia, which led to a big loss at home. These items are HUGE in an important game Saturday!
Ø Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was beaming at Saturday’s ground-breaking for the Student-Athlete High Performance Center. Thanks for all you do, Sandy!
Ø And yes, plea-bargaining, ever-ready-to-compromise-with-police RunningWolf was there… furiously dialing on his non-environmentally friendly cell phone trying to get supporters to show up to the ground-breaking… and sadly nobody showed up. Face it, dude: you’re irrelevant. Go back to your dumpster.
So what’s going to happen: Why Cal could lose the game: ASU stacks the line of scrimmage to stop the run and forces Cal to pass to beat them, the defensive line fails to pressure the Pac-10’s top quarterback, Rudy Carpenter, and he exploits Cal’s pass defense. Why Cal could win the game: Cal’s defense blitzes effectively and records 3-4 sacks, forces at least one turnover, and the special teams delivers another blocked kick or punt for a touchdown. Cal’s quarterback (whoever it’s going to be) gets on track with the receivers, who catch the ball when it’s thrown to them. That opens room for the run, and Cal makes a mediocre run defense pay. A 24-4 record in the last 28 home games, a more aggressive defense, and a (hopefully!) improved passing game make the difference. A must-win to challenge for the Pac-10 title. Cal 31, Arizona State 30.
Next week: a review of Homecoming v. Arizona State and a preview of Bye Week II.
Steven Harris ’93 (firstname.lastname@example.org; www.calweasel.com) is SO HAPPY: shovels met dirt! Three-year-old football genius Jeremy Harris emphatically demonstrated that he prefers sitting on the west side of the stadium because he can see the cannon and hear the band better that way. Great job by the cannoneers and the Cal Band! Rest in Peace, Bob Briggs… hope you and some Cal fans up there had a nice toast during Saturday’s game. Finally, my 15th reunion is this weekend. DUDE! Where did that time go?