1. The burgeoning Giorgio Tavecchio for Heisman campaign. Through three games, the most consistent California Golden Bears football player has been...their kicker. Three for three kicking field goals, eighteen for eighteen on extra point attempts, and averaging 65 yards on each kickoff, nearly a seven yard improvement from last season. Cal's kickoff units have been their most consistent unit the first two weeks of the season.
You know what that means, right? DOOM.
Every great Golden Bear who was pimped up for the Heisman has seen their team subsequently dunk itself into toilet water. Jahvid Best in 2009, DeSean Jackson in 2007, Vinnie Strang in 2003--all of those seasons have ended in disappointment and heartbreak. Expect Travis Cobbs (the nation's fifth best kick returner) to take one to the house and try his best to dash those surging hopes.
Cal's offense will try its best to compensate. When it's first and goal at the 1, Tedford will send out the field goal unit to make sure Giorgio gets those sure three points. How about 2nd and 13 at the 23? Giorgio's got this. While Cal fans will all be exclaiming "non capisco", his teammates will be yelling, "Bravo!" The Italian Stallion's going to get those points up. No shutout here!
2. Tucson is where the dreams of football teams dissolve into a murky haze of peyote. Dennis Dixon's leg. 28 points in twelve minutes. Two rushing touchdowns of 43 and 57 yards by one of the worst rushing teams in college football. Beating an undefeated team by 38 points. Spraining the shoulder of a star running back and ruining his team's Rose Bowl bid. One trip at the one yard line, one bad pass interference call, one toe on the sideline...
You know how Lubbock, Texas is referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of college football? Tucson, Arizona is the Door to Hell. Enter and be burned.
via englishrussia.com (Welcome to Arizona Stadium!)
3. Clancy Pendergast, not raising Arizona. People forget the last time Pendergast was coaching in Arizona, he was beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game by sending selective blitzes at Donovan McNabb, putting him off balance early before nearly blowing it late to our very own DeSean Jackson. Now that the Cardinals seem to be sliding downward defensively, it's a little known secret Pendergast is a master of one-upmanship. He'll spend most of the game taking big-blitzing to a new and unprecedented level.
You thought what you saw in Nevada was crazy aggressive. Wait 'til you see what happens Saturday. Have you ever heard of the ten man blitz? What about when all the defensive linemen attempt an Adrian Moten? Pendergast is a high-roller and he's going to make all the Cardinal fans in Arizona know what they're missing out on.
4. Pefect game. For those not paying attention, Nick Foles does more than throw completions to himself. Foles has completed around seven of every nine passes this season, second in the FBS. After the Cal defense let the wobbly and mechanically erratic (but also the sleight-of-handily savvy) Colin Kaepernick go 10 for 15, you have to imagine Foles is ready to break the barriers on the NCAA record books. With Mike Mohamed likely out for the second straight week, and Foles the master of the little five-ten yard intermediate routes that linebackers have to play close-up on, the question isn't whether he'll throw a ball that hits the turf, it's whether the defenders will be able to force any fumbles once the ball finds its way into one of his receivers hands. Watching the Arizona offense will be like slowly swallowing poison and hoping you heave it out.
5. Kevin Riley meets his spirit animal. During the halftime speech from our cyborg head coach, Riley will absentmindedly chew on a customary halftime banana to regain his energy...only to realize too late it's a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper. This will send him into a powerful hallucinogenic daze, warping him into a surrealistic fantasy world.
As the third quarter, our senior quarterback will enter the field...and run into his animal guide.
Eventually, this clever and wise creature will steer Riley back to football enlightenment, perhaps in time to lead the Bears back to a strong Pac-10 season. Unfortunately, it'll take him a week or so to awaken from his trip, a little too late to have any effect on Beau Sweeney throwing a hundred incompletions into the ground.
6. Jeff Tedford vs. Mike Stoops. Here is a question many mortals have pondered over the years: Would you rather have an impressive marble statue lead you into battle, or the equivalent of a human aneurysm?
Pros for marble statue: Impressive to look at, makes you feel like you're doing something important, a classical marvel of truth and wisdom.
Cons for marble statue: Not great at adjustments, erodes over time, vulnerable to pillagers.
Pros for human aneurysm: Fires up everyone, perfect for a college atmosphere where everyone thinks with their heart and not with their brain, handles the emotional needs of his players.
Cons for human aneurysm: Seems to consume the Dark Side rather than let the Dark Side consume him, and if you stick a needle in him, he'll burst.
The problem is that a marble statue in the desert heat tends to weather quickly. Don't be too alarmed if parts of Tedford start to crack and break apart on the sideline, and if by the 4th quarter he's being examined and restored by archeologists.
7. The Arizona fanbase. Well-renowned for their gentile subdued attitude, this reserved group of fans should be graceful in victory. This will lull the Cal players into a false sense of security that they'll have the confidence to .
Warning: language NSFW, because you will be overwhelmed with the sweetness.
8. Undisclosed injuries. Tedford has said that he will no longer disclose injuries on the press. However, CGB has obtained some top-secret reports of injuries, and they are very serious to an already reeling Cal defense.
Marc Anthony, broken heart, when the girl he was getting with realized he couldn't sing rich Latin pop melodies and salsa like a backup Hollywood dancer.
Ernest Owusu, brain exhaustion, from doing a thousand pages of political economy reading. He'll be engaging left tackle Adam Grant in a frenzied discussion of the constant instability of the Asian subcontinent; Grant, a religious studies major, will recite passages of the Rig Veda right back at him to illustrate what's going on. This will cause Owusu to be the first player to pass out on the field from mental fatigue.
Cameron Jordan, at-risk hair, potentially out four to six hours at the barber shop. It is not known when he will get this haircut, because Jordan is fond of sporting the Gumby. But eventually some right tackle is going to knock his helmet off, chew a huge piece of bubble gum, and stick it inside his hair. Arizona will take the 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty if it means Jordan spends the rest of the game looking for a machete as he bemoans the loss of the frazz.
9. Push me around. Shane Vereen did a lot in the Nevada defeat, but one thing he didn't get was much help from his offensive line. Other than three rushing plays that unleashed him for about 130-some yards, Vereen got bottled up for a meager three yards per carry, which would be enough to make him a starting tailback in the MAC. The Cal offensive line is a major concern going into conference play, and now they go up against what appears to be a hellacious Arizona front four.
There is reason for worry according to local statisticians: Ricky Stanzi was sacked on the final three meaningful plays of Iowa's loss last week. Extrapolating, statisticians project Kevin Riley will be sacked on EVERY PASSING PLAY FROM SCRIMMAGE. Soon Tedford and Andy Ludwig will have no choice but to run the ball, even with eleven stacked in the box, because the alternative is seeing Riley look like this by the time he boards the plane back to the Bay.
Fearless Cat Chases and Attacks Bear [Cat vs Bear Fight] (via joedirtia)
Cat vs. Bear (via youanimal0)
Wow. That was even worse than last week. Gamblers, you should beg for more points when you put your money on the Wildcats this weekend.
(Thanks again to Black Heart Gold Pants for the idea for this post. I tried to steal nothing from their excellent Arizona forecast--and it went pretty grisly for them. Hopefully fate decides to intervene here.)