Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
Cal heads onto the road this week to take on a, by most accounts, underachieving Utah team. After a season in which they contended for the Pac-12 South title, Utah's injury-afflicted team has been inconsistent this year. Both the Bears and the Utes are looking to finish their season on a high note and build expectations for next year.
1. Before the season I thought this would be a matchup of two ranked 6-win teams. Obviously we didn't hold up our end of the bargain. But what has happened to Utah this year, especially on defense?
Losing Jordan Wynn didn't help. I think we also woefully overestimated the offensive line. But in terms of defense, there is no doubt they were overrated heading into the season. I actually felt they improved last week over their performance against UCLA, so, hopefully this is the turn around. But still, the secondary has been questionable this season and even the defensive line, which was supposed to be the strength, has had trouble. This is surprising because of Star Lotulelei, who is one of the best defensive linemen in the country. I don't think he's the reason, but you would expect some other players to step up with how defenses hone in on him and his ability to dominate lines - allowing, you'd think, for other players to have a bigger impact. It really hasn't happened.
2. What happened to John White IV? He was a 1500-yard rusher last year. He's been a non-factor so far.
He was injured at the start of the season and has struggled ever since. It doesn't help that Utah's offensive line has underperformed this season. Without a strong line, gaining traction with the running game becomes nearly impossible.
3. Is Whittingham's seat warming up at all?
4. What do you think of Travis Wilson so far in his very young Utah career?
I think he's done well. He played okay last week against Oregon State and even threw some good passes. Unfortunately, many were dropped. But there was improvement, I think, from his first start to last week's performance. I'm hopeful this week he'll be able to get his first victory.
5. Obviously this year is probably a lost cause for Utah fans. What will fans expect the team to achieve next year?
I don't know if anyone knows. I think a lot depends on how they finish. If this team can claw its way to a bowl victory, then next year expectations will rise a bit. If they fade and finish with their first losing season in a decade, I doubt anyone will expect much except for incremental improvement in 2013.
7. Care to offer any predictions for what will occur on Saturday night?
I really don't know. I feel this game is a true toss-up and I wouldn't be surprised if the Utes lost badly or won impressively. But since I'm a fan, I'll go Utah 24, Cal 14
8. A side question - how do you feel about not playing BYU consistently anymore?
I really never got too upset over it like some fans. I like that they're still going to be on the schedule, but I really don't care if it's annual or not. I just am glad they're keeping it going.
9. How is Star Lotuleilei so effective? What does he do that sets him apart from other premier linemen?
He's a beast. He's athletic. He's smart. I don't know if you can pinpoint one reason behind why he's so effective. He just is.
10. Who do you want to punch in the face?
How do you think the Bears will do against the Utes?
Win Big (10 votes)
Win a close game (11 votes)
Lose a close game (49 votes)
Lose Big (16 votes)
86 total votes