When Is The Pac-12 Not The Pac-12: When It Is........A Bear-Buff Matchup!


TwistNHook:  Our first Pac-12 game ever!

Except it's technically not a Pac-12 game.  So confusing. But Colorado enters a post-Hawkins era.  What can we expect from the Buffs?

We spoke with Ralphie Report before and this is what they had to say:

2. Any major style changes coming our way in the fall? New offense or defense installed?

Everything is new. On defense, the Buffs were missing a ton of players to injury especially in the front seven so it was extremely hard to make many conclusions on schemes. We won't get a feel for the first team defense until fall practice resumes.

On offense, from the spring game and a few scrimmages we attended, the scheme was pro-style, something that was to be expected from Jon Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy's background in the NFL. Embree being a former tight end, certainly instilled more tight end sets, something that was missing from the Dan Hawkins' offense. The Buffs will be much better if they can attack the middle of the field with their tight ends. Consistent with their NFL roots, Embree and Bieniemy have said that they want to play physical and that starts up front in the running game.

 

Sounds like they are making majors changes in Boulder.  What should we expect in our 2nd game of the year?

Berkelium97:  Words cannot describe how excited I am to see Tiny, Owusu, Coleman, Payne, Hill, and the rest of the D-line tear apart Coach Marshall's O-line at Colorado.

HydroTech:  And in true Cal irony, Murphy's Law will strike with a vengeance and Colorado's O-line will destroy Cal's defense.  In all honesty, I could totally see Cal losing this game because the football gods hate us.  

TwistNHook:  Don't worry, I got an in with YHWH.

Kodiak:  Seriously.  I have this nagging worry that they're going to rush for 200+ yards right up the middle against a stacked box and pop some big ones against run blitzes.  Not to mention, I recall that they had a decent TE, and their new coach likes to emphasize the tight ends.  Cue Hit Squad era flashbacks...


On the ground, their stable of running backs are more dangerous as receivers than as between-the-tackles runners.  They did running back by committee last year because of injury issues...and because no one really emerged as their premier guy.

Tyler Hansen isn't a bad QB if you give him time.  I think he loses his best WR (McKnight), though.  And he can't light up our secondary from his backside.

What the heck.  Juju hates us anyways.  I predict that we're going to see their 2nd and 3rd string quarterback in this game.  They won't be able to run the ball at all.  And we're going to have a season high sack total for this game.

Considering that they lost two NFL-caliber DB's which were the strength of their defense, I think our offense should have our way with them...if we can get competent O-line and QB play.  

Colorado has some talented players, but it's unknown whether their new coach is going to engineer a Tedford-like turnaround, or be the second coming of Buddy Teevans.  

It's a road game at altitude.  Classic Cal says this one has the makings of a Maryland-like faceplant.  But, in Tedford we trust.  I think we dominate this game from start to finish. 


TwistNHook:  USA Today lists Colorado players we should keep an eye out for in 2011:

RB Rodney Stewart -- Despite his small stature (5-6, 175), Stewart became a workhorse as Colorado essentially had no other backs it could count on. The junior finished with 1,318 yards rushing, the fifth-best total in Colorado history.

WR Paul Richardson -- He broke the Colorado freshman record for receiving yardage with 514 yards on 34 catches. Richardson did not commit, however, to returning to CU after the question was posed by reporters following the last game. Richardson initially signed with UCLA.

OG Ryan Miller -- A medical redshirt previously granted to Miller allows him to return for a fifth season, and the 6-8, 310-pounder opted to stay with the Buffs rather than turn pro. He's a strong run blocker who still needs work developing as a pass blocker.

DT Will Pericak -- He quietly emerged as a solid run-stopper who recorded five tackles for loss and a team-high 10 tackles for zero yards. Pericak also blocked a field goal attempt.

I know next to nothing about any of these players.  What I do know is that Colorado's biggest change is the loss of Nate Solder.  Solder was an All-Everything OLineman, drafted 17th overall by the Patriots.  Oddly enough, last year Cal handled Solder fairly well.  That said, losing him will be a big problem for the Buffs this year.  

 

Solarise: 

RB Rodney Stewart -- Despite his small stature (5-6, 175), Stewart became a workhorse as Colorado essentially had no other backs it could count on. The junior finished with 1,318 yards rushing, the fifth-best total in Colorado history.

Kept Stewart pretty well bottled up last year iirc. Not sure how our plan of attack will change.

WR Paul Richardson -- He broke the Colorado freshman record for receiving yardage with 514 yards on 34 catches. Richardson did not commit, however, to returning to CU after the question was posed by reporters following the last game. Richardson initially signed with UCLA.

Marc Anthony will likely draw the assignment against the physical Richardson. I expect there will be some tough PI calls (Pac10 officials!) but nothing Anthony couldn't handle.

Berkelium97:  We should win this game with ease.  Should.   The loss of Solder and their pair of DBs from a team that already had an underwhelming roster should spell doom for the Buffs.  Clancy and the defense should have their way with the Colorado offense.  The matchup between the not-so-great Colorado defense and total-unknown Cal offense is what I am interested in watching.  Maynard, Allen, Jones, and the stable of RBs ought to move the chains with ease.  If they do, Cal fans can have a bit more confidence in our offense heading into Pac-12 play.  If not, well, things could get rough.


This is one of those games that good teams will win easily.  I look at this game as a measuring stick for whether or not we are one of those "good teams."  Tedford's 04-07 (pre-injury) squads would have won this game easily.  The 08-10 teams might have made this a nail-biter.  Whether or not we win this decisively should give us a better idea of whether this team will be able to win those "should-win" games.  If we lose, then nothing this season is guaranteed--not even games against WSU or UCLA.

atomsareenough:  I don't have much to add beyond, "I agree with Hydro", which is usually a pretty safe place to be. Honestly, we shouldn't have too much of a problem with rebuilding Buffs team, but as Kodiak mentioned, the road game + altitude aspects are the two things which give some pause. Also, they might be a little extra motivated after the rough welcome we gave them to the conference last year.



Also in concurrence with Hydro, I too look forward to Marshall introducing his new head coach to that confused, shoulder-shrugging, "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S HAPPENING EITHER!" look that we all saw at the last Oregon State game.

 

CBKWit:  This is an interesting measuring stick for the team.  We would, or rather we should, expect our program to handle a rebuilding, mediocre team fairly easily, especially one we obliterated last year.  And yet, our track record for road games over the last half decade has been, how we say, not good.  We should have crushed Minnesota back in 2009, and after jumping out on them quickly, we almost gave the game away.  Nevada was a better team than us last year, but 3 touchdowns better?


We could look to the new qb excuse if we falter, but given how poor our qb play has been in recent years, that doesn't carry much weight.  I hope that we win this game handily, and I think we should all expect to as well, in terms of where we expect our program to be.  But I certainly won't be surprised if we lose, or if the game is closer than it "should" be.

 

TwistNHook:  Any score predictions?  

NorCalNick:  I'm confident in saying that it won't be a blow out (in either direction).  Last year Colorado shot themselves in the foot in so many ways, turning a garden variety loss into something much more embarrassing.  With a new, and presumably improved coaching staff and home field advantage the Buffs are less likely to make so many mistakes. 

Still, on balance Cal has superior talent.  Cal may have lost a few high end draft picks but Colorado did too.  The Bears take this battle of teams that think they're a year away from truly contending by a score of 27-17.

OhioBear:  This will be a tough, hard fought game.  And with it being our first road game, and with Colorado having upheaval in its coaching staff, it might be mistake-filled as well.  I really don't have a good sense of this one, but I'll sunshine pump and say we pull it out for a confidence-building road win, giving us momentum going into the next week's showdown with Presbyterian. 


Cal 24, Colorado 20. 

Berkelium97:  Unless Ralphie gets loose and tramples half our team, I don't think we will have any trouble with this game.  I just don't see it being a close game (what of it, Juju?).  Cal 35, Colorado 17


OhioBear: Juju mad

 

 

Atomsareenough:  I'm gonna say it'll be a comfortable 2-TD win, but not nearly the blowout it was last year. My prediction is 33-17 Bears.

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