California 27, Arizona State 20: Arizona State's defense will mostly redeem itself after its letdown at Stanford, but the Sun Devils offense will make Cal's disappointing defense look stout again.
After the jump we have shuffling in both the ASU and Cal depth charts, a look at last year's OC Frank Cignetti doing what he could't do at Cal, a profile of a potentially record-breaking punter at ASU, how Cam Jordan is balancing work and fun, some selective amnesia at the SF Chronicle, basketball info, and much more.
Note: with basketball season tipping off soon, I'm going to start breaking down the GN news stories into sections, since we now have an otherwise overwhelming number of stories to go through each day. For days I talk about other non-football/basketball sports, I'll put them in a separate category too.
- Former Cal OC Frank Cignetti comes in at third in Bruce Feldman's list of top-10 assistant coaches. This is due mainly to the drastic turnaround of quarterback Bill Stull. Check out his stats and compare 2008 and 2009. Too bad our QBs didn't perform like that under Cignetti.... It's not inconceivable that we may see his team in the Sun Bowl if Cal happens to travel to El Paso to celebrate the new year.
- The depth chart could be shaken up this weekend at cornerback, left guard, and place kicker. Conte and Nnabufie are challenging Hill and Hagan. Matt Summers-Gavin's shoulder is bothering him again and if he can't play he'll be replaced by Boskovitch or Richard Fisher. Tedford may decide to have one kicker for kickoffs and another for field goals.
- If punting is winning, we might be in trouble for the third week in a row. ASU punter Trevor Hankins may have a record-breaking season. He's eighth nationally with a 45.2 average, half a yard short of the ASU record. He's been so impressive that he has held onto the punting job even after ASU's kicking phenom Thomas Weber returned from injury. Weber had held punting and kicking duties since midway through the 2007 season.
- Wide receiver Chris McGaha says ASU came out flat and unfocused against Stanford, which explains their poor play. Injury updates: ASU's starting center won't play and will be replaced by their guard Garth Gerhart, who has been battling a toe injury. Wide receivers Omar Bolden, Kyle Williams, and Kerry Taylor all sat out of yesterday's practice.
SFGate on the showdown between the conference's top running offense playing the second-best run defense. The Chronicle also has an article about how the Bears may learn something about themselves on Saturday because "Cal could find itself in a close game for the first time all season." The author seems to have forgotten that Cal has already played a game in a hostile environment while needing to perform well in the fourth quarter. Cal responded with authority by scoring two fourth quarter TDs against Minnesota, forcing three turnovers, and decisively putting the game away.
- Cam Jordan is finding a balance between having too much fun while playing and taking things too seriously. Saturday may be ASU's homecoming, but it is also a homecoming for the Chandler, AZ native.
- Cal comes in at 12/13th in the first preseason basketball polls, one spot ahead of conference challenger Washington. Receiving 25 of the 37 first-place votes, Cal is predicted to win the Pac-10.
- Seattle Times blogger Percy Allen predicts a second-place finish for Cal basketball in the Pac-10 (behind Washington) because " the Bears haven't shown the toughness and consistency to win each week in the Pac-10." He also says Cal's reliance on threes makes them "prone to scoring droughts and losing streaks" and says flat-out "Cal doesn't play defense."
- Jerome Randle has been hearing from Sean Lampley, whose record-setting career scoring mark at Cal will be in jeopardy if Randle has a strong season.
- Former Cal basketball player Randy Duck has been enjoying teaching basketball fundamentals at his San Ramon-based business Hoop House.