Cal's last two trips to the Coliseum have featured great defensive efforts limited by a middling offense. Will this year be any different?
California 28, USC 24: The Trojans struggling defense is banged up, and the Bears have enough D to hold Matt Barkley and company in check.
Last week Cal held a UCLA run game that was avg 321 ypg rush (5.9) to just 26 yds (1.0) while USC fell victim to a game-winning FG on the last play for a 2nd consecutive week in the loss to Stanford even though they had the yardage (499-484) and TO (3-1) edge. While the Trojans have dominated the Golden Bears the L/2 years by a combined 47-6 score USC HC Kiffin may have a difficult time keeping his units focused as his "Us Against the World" mantra is harder to preach after an upset loss to UW and an emotionally draining loss to Stanford. Cal makes it 3 straight losses for the Trojans.
After the jump Max Zhang and the Chinese national team brawl with the Brazillian team, USC's depth continues to be an issue on defense, Riley hopes to exploit a vulnerable USC secondary, and David Esquer raises money to keep baseball from being cut.
- Max Zhang was caught up in a brawl between the Brazillian and Chinese basketball teams. Photos of the incident show Max on the sending and receiving end of some of the fighting, though one picture's caption incorrectly states that Max (who is not the subject of the picture) was seen kicking another player.
- Wilner says this weekend's matchup is a great opportunity for Cal to end its losing streak to USC.
- The Daily Cal interviews the Daily Trojan regarding this weekend's game. Josh of the Daily Trojan provides some insight into USC's struggles on defense and the lack of depth, which may account for the game-winning drives USC has given up in the past two weeks. Both writers predict a narrow USC victory.
- Injuries have further reduced USC's depth on defense. DE West Horton and LBs Malcom Smith and Shane Horton all missed practice time this week. Robert Woods took some reps at defensive back.
- Tedford says John Tyndall, Will Kapp, and Eric Stevens will all see playing time at fullback this week. He also said Guarnero will "probably" start at center.
- After playing three consecutive games against non-traditional offenses (pistol-air raid-pistol), Pendergast ought to be happy that he's scheming against USC's pro-style defense. However, he says he's taking nothing for granted and is approaching this game with the same intensity and determination he has brought to previous games.
- Cal has the defense, rushing attack, and receivers to compete for a win against USC. If Riley can take advantage of Cal's weapons on offense against a poor pass defense, the Bears' chances of winning will increase substantially.
- Shane Vereen is well known (and perhaps feared) by Pac-10 coaches. If he keeps playing at this level, he'll start to get some recognition on the other side of the Rockies.
- Kevin Riley's ability to exploit the USC secondary is among Ted Miller's issues in this week's "What to Watch."
- Cal and Stanford are the final obstacles in the Pac-12 division split. Cal and Stanford would like to join USC, UCLA, Arizona, and ASU in the South division, but the conference wants to put them with Oregon, OSU, Washington, and WSU in the North division. The ADs voted 7-5 for a North-South split with Cal and Stanford in the North, although USC AD Pat Haden is still hoping to play the NorCal schools each year.
- Shane Vereen and the Cal defense are rising in Ted Miller's Pac-10 stock report while Kevin Riley is falling.
- The defense had a great time watching the replay of Kendricks' tackle in the film room. Pendergast stopped the tape to say "That is probably the best form tackle I have ever seen."
- The OCRegister's talking points provide some insight into what USC fans are thinking about heading into this game.
- After being held to only 33 yards against Stanford, USC's Allen Bradford is hoping for a much more productive outing against Cal. Clancy Pendergast might have other plans, however...
- Lane Kiffin will play against his former mentor Jeff Tedford this weekend.
- Coach David Esquer has not given up on keeping baseball alive at Cal. In fact, he believes the program might be sustained through fundraising and donations.