Game #12 : December 6 vs. Washington (time and television TBA).
CBKWit: Louis Rankin!?!?!? What the hell is a Louis Rankin!?!?!?
HydroTech: I remember seeing Louis Rankin play in high school. If I recall correctly, in my senior year of high school, Rankin wasn't the starter. He was behind a senior whom everyone thought was pretty good. The other senior kid was a decent back who gave 100% all the time, and was small and shifty, but he just wasn't college talent. Even though Rankin got less carries, I knew he was better. I told my friends at the time that Rankin, although he wasn't starting, was better and could play in college. They didn't believe me. Rankin played for Washington, and now is in the NFL.
TwistNHook: And everytime they gave you a wedgie and stuffed you in a locker, you swore you'd get revenge. The desire burned deep within your black and twisted heart. And then, finally, the day came when you could tell them.
I, HydroTech, am a MARSHAWNTHUSIAST! REVENGE WAS YOURS!
Yellow Fever: Jake Locker and Tyrone Willingham are still there. They still suck. I don't think Washington really warrants any more discussion at this point.
CBKWit: Yeah, Locker sort of has Tebow's wheels, but his passing is terrible. I think he was about 50% last year with a 1:1 TD:INT ratio. Not good. Let's find some stats to back me up.
Even worse! 47.3 completion percentage, 14 touchdowns, 15 interceptions. I've got to believe this will be a let down game after winning the axe back, but there's no way we should lose to this team at home. Or on the road. Or give up 300+ rushing yards at 10 yards a pop.
HydroTech: I think this might be the last year for Tyrone Willingham at Washington. This year, UW has a tough schedule with OOC games against Notre Dame, BYU, and Oklahoma. They would easily lose all three of those games as well as 6 out of their 9 Pac-10 conference games. With anything less than a winning record, I'm sure UW fans will be calling for his head.
TwistNHook: Indeed, and their first game is against Oregon. Now, Oregon has a lot of questions of its own (esp. with the potential loss of Costa), but I'd have to believe that starting off Oregon, BYU, Oklahoma, well, I wouldn't be shocked if they started off 0-3.
Nothing will demoralize a team kwicker than jumping out to a kwick 0-3 record. It could be a long year for the Huskies and their fairly gorgeous fans.
HydroTech: I think UW may be locked in a heated duel between their arch nemesis WSU for last place in the Pac-10. Stanfurd might be in the mix too.
TwistNHook: Washington's 4th game is actually against Stanford. So, that could be a key game in determining the bottom of the Pac10.
Washington could have it rough this year if Locker can't improve his play. - Image via phinphanatic.com
And no, this is not the time to start discussing the Stanford linebackers. I know we'd all love to discuss them, but we have to stay focused here.
So with Rankin out, who is taking over? Apparently freshman Chris Polk. According to Polk's Scout Profile:
Polk is a versatile athlete that makes big plays, whether it's on the ground or receiving. As a runner he shows speed, power, elusiveness, balance, vision and toughness. He hits the hole hard and will surprise you with his power. As a receiver, Polk shows good hands and concentration. He will make the tough grab over the middle, he can get behind the secondary and take the short pass the distance. He shows the ability to run away from people.
HydroTech: Damn, that Polk guy sounds like a beast. What can't he do? Crochet?
TwistNHook: Have I told you guys I started knitting this year? I've already made a scarf and I'm just finishing up a tie.
By HydroTech's calculations, I am a BEAST!
And look, if some of the young talent on the UDub team comes around (and Locker overcomes his injury), their offense shouldn't be that bad. It'll be the Defense that can make or break this team. They return 6 starters, most of which are in the defensive backfield. They apparently have some depth issues at DLine with only 1 returning starter. There were some whispers of a 3-4 similar to Cal, but it appears they are sticking with the 4-3 for now. But the 3-4 might raise its ugly head. Esp. if they jump out to an 0-3 or 0-4 start and need to shake things up.
HydroTech: I don't think making a switch from the base 4-3 to a base 3-4 mid-season is quite the best thing to do.
TwistNHook: Yeah, well, I don't think [dirty joke redacted] is the best thing, either. But that doesn't stop Bob Saget, now, does it?
ragnarok: Y'know, I think this crosses a line, a little bit. Am I way off base?
TwistNHook: Ok, ok, take Bob Saget's side in all this. But I'm never watching Half Baked with you ever again!
HydroTech: I have to agree with ragnarok. Twist, you've completely crossed the line. It is becoming more apparent day by day now that you've completely lost it. Get back in control before we oust you from the blog.
TwistNHook: But if you oust me, The Maharg will cry? Who would want that? Besides, yknow, everybody. Ever. Up to and including the greater Maharg family tree. And Barack Obama.
CBKWit: Twist, lost it? You mean just because he used the phrase [phrase redacted] in a front page article and has made fun of a reader multiple times for asking a legitimate question (what are the Stanford linebackers like?). Nah, Twist has everything figured out, thank you very much.
Regardless, Polk seems like the real deal. USC was after him in a big way, but he apparently wanted to be a part of Tyrone Willingham's last year in Seattle. I guess that would be more fun than being the 12th string running back at usc. Only the top 6 get houses for their parents.
The problem with over hyping Polk is that, even though he's talented, he doesn't really address a need. Jake Locker is the Pac-10s leading returning rusher, so unless UW is going to an option offense where Locker and Polk are threats on the same play (and, to my knowledge), Polk shouldn't improve their offense very much. Defenses already key on UWs rushing attack. What Locker needs are top flight receivers (really, he needs his accuracy needs to not suck as much) to help with the Huskie's abysmal passing game.
HydroTech: I had no idea Polk was so highly touted. He was recruited by us and Southern Cal. He also had offers from the likes of Oregon. Funny thing though, UCLA didn't offer Polk. I wonder why.
TwistNHook: How can they blame that on Karl Dorrell? Give me a minute, I'll figure this out.
ragnarok: You know, not too many men would envy Karl Dorrell, but perhaps Ty Willingham might. After, Dorrell only has one fanbase eternally despising him; Willingham has both Notre Dame AND Washington cursing his name every Saturday.
Barring something miraculous happening (like UW's 93rd-ranked passing offense drastically improving), Cal's game vs. UW should be Ty's swan song with the Huskies. Not that beating him one more time would make up for the 7 straight losses to Stanfurd.
TwistNHook: When I was younger and still in school, I always thought beating Tyrone Willingham WOULD make up for the 7 straight losses.
"Don't take this the wrong way, Ty, but I used to want to physically assault you." - Image via cache.viewimages.com
HydroTech: I've never felt what it's like to lose to a Tyrone Willingham coached Stanfurd team. *sobs*
TwistNHook: But you have known the joy of losing to a Tyrone Willingham coached team. So, don't despair too much!
ragnarok: As some of our readers have pointed out, previewing a game this far in advance is a little silly. SMQ might call it 'Absurdly Premature'. In any case, here's what we do know, more than 3 months in advance:
• Cal should be pretty good. I think we all expect to be, at a minimum, bowl eligible by this point.
• Washington probably won't be very good. The talent level still isn't there, and with a brutal schedule again this year, it seems like it would be coup for UW to even be fighting for a bowl spot at this point.
• Given the likely low stakes of this game, it probably won't be the best-played game. Cal might try and avenge last year's embarrassing loss in Seattle, and the Huskies might be trying to send Willingham off right, but motivation will definitely be a factor.
Even if there's nothing to play for, I'll eat my hat if the Bears lose this one. 27-12 Bears.
TwistNHook: We are not previewing necessarily Cal versus Washington. We are instead previewing Washington. SMQ would not call it "Absurdly Premature" because Washington's season starts very soon.
Perchance some of our readers only care about certain opponents in the weeks leading up to our game against them. Fair enough. But to understand where UDub might be in early December, it's important understand where UDub will be in late August. And September. And October. And November. And what forces on the team might affect its performance in those months.
So, I disagree with the basic tenet that our exercise today is a "little silly." And, man, if there's anybody who knows what "a little silly" looks like, it has GOT to be me.
"Now, that is a PIMP cardigan!" - Image via www.sportsartifacts.com
ragnarok: You make some good points, though I think you'd agree that calling this preview at least 'Somewhat Anticipatory' is more than fair. Plenty will change between now and then, and much of our assessment will have to be reevaluated in early December, when Cal actually faces off against the Huskies.
In any case, I think my sentiments stem from my steadily increasing excitement about Saturday and the Michigan State game, and my inability to focus on almost anything else. C'mon, it's almost time for CAL FOOTBALLLLLLLLL!!!
TwistNHook: Let's defeat them one billion to nothing for last year's debacle with 1,000 rushing yards.