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CGB Pre-Season: Oregon State Roundtable

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TwistNHook: Who has more rushing yards in this game? Jacquizz Rodgers or Shane Vereen? With OSU breaking in a new QB, they might (hopefully!) stumble. But Corvalis has been mean to our Beloved Golden Bears. MEANIES!

Avinash: No it's not. We've won two of the last three times there and would've won the third if not for ALAMAR.


Kodiak: I want to hate Mike Riley for owning us...but I can't. I must admit to respecting the heck out of guy who turns down more $$$ to stay with his home-town team and has the chops to turn a bunch of under-the-radar recruits into contenders every year. I wish I could say that this is the year we break the cycle of ownage, but it just doesn't look good.

One thing in our favor is that OSU is breaking in a new QB. Historically, Riley's QBs take time to develop. Usually, they struggle their 1st year or two, and then come on like gangbusters as seniors.(Derek Anderson/Sean Canfield) However, with the incredibly dangerous Rogers brothers, new QB Katz doesn't have to do too much. If there was ever a year for a new QB to break in, having an all-Pac-10 wideout and one of the nation's best RB's is good timing. Reportedly, Katz is very composed given his relative youth and inexperience. Terrific.

I really wish we were playing them earlier in the year. OSU usually starts slow and become tough as nails as they master their playbook. They don't use a lot of different schemes or looks, but rely on well-drilled execution to play very fast. On offense, we have to deal with the aforementioned Rogers brothers who are both dynamic threats running and receiving. Even stacking the box doesn't guarantee you can slow down Quizz. And I don't think we have any corners who can stick James one on one. They also return 4 starters on their O-line which was excellent last year.

Ohio Bear: I have no good reason to think that Cal will win this game. We've lost three in a row to the Beavos, the Rodgers brothers are still there, Mike Riley is a good coach, the game is in Corvallis in late October, and they have a good defense that has sacked Kevin Riley 8 times in the last two meetings (thought it seemed more like 18 times). Oh yeah, and Kevin Riley is 0-3 against them.

I really wish we were playing this game early in the season. Oregon State has become notorious for starting the season slowly and then finishing with a flourish (the Civil War results in the last two years notwithstanding). And they're breaking in a new QB in Ryan Katz. As much as Oregon State likes Katz, I am not going to believe he is near as good as Sean Canfield was last season until I see him perform. But there is a much better chance of Katz being good on October 30 than sometime in September -- so, not a good break for us on the Oregon State game date.

Berkelium97: This matchup could come down to a battle of the quarterbacks. The Cal defense did a respectable job in its first assignment against Quizz in 2008 and they absolutely shut him down last year. His 67 yards were among the fewest he gained all season (other low outputs came against Oregon-64 and BYU-63). It was far from his average of about 110 yards per game. With a solid D-line and some good linebackers, I can forsee the Cal D holding him under 100 yards again.

This will put the burden on sophomore QB Ryan Katz. His transition to the starting role will be much easier with the Rodgers brothers helping him out. He's behind an O-line that returns four starters, but it also surrendered 29 sacks. Persevering through the blitztastic Pendergast D could be tough on the young QB and his O-line. If the Cal D brings pressure early and often, it might be a rough day for Katz. At Pac-10 Media Day Mike Riley called him "unflappable." We'll see if he flaps under pressure.

The OSU defense had trouble pressuring the QB last year. They only registered 17 sacks. By contrast, Cal--despite the constant complaints about a lack of pass rush--had 30 sacks last year. If Riley gets time in the pocket, he could burn the OSU defense. Keeping Steven Paea in check will be a major task for the O-line, however.

Kodiak: On defense, they lose caffeine-freak LB Kristick, but still have the Mountain-Who-Walks (Paea) at NT along with three other senior starters on the D-line. Their defensive scheme always gives the Tedford offense fits. Paea clogs the middle and lets them get pressure on the QB without committing too many guys up front. They play tight press coverage on the outside and dare you to beat them with low percentage throws over the top. We've had success against them in the past when they have young/inexperienced corners...but no such luck. They have a deep and veteran secondary.

On special teams, they have experienced kickers and their coverage teams were among the nation's best last year. I wonder what that's like...

If this didn't make you feel optimistic enough, Kevin Riley will be battling ghosts all game long. Ever since his infamous fourth quarter gaffe, he's really pressed when playing against his home-town team. I wish I could write a fairy-tale ending to Riley's last visit to Beaver Stadium, but I think they're too deep, too talented, and too well-coached. It would take an inspired team effort and some luck in the turnover category to pull this one out. What's more likely is a gritty effort that comes up short. 31-21 Beavers.

Ohio Bear: With all of this working against us, how could I possibly think Cal will win this game? That is a legitimate question. But yes, I actually have a feeling we will win this one. Even with our recent foibles against Oregon State, Cal has won 2 out of the last 3 in Corvallis and was competitive in the last meeting there two years ago. Our defense did a decent job against Quizz Rodgers last year, so if we can do that again, we can try to make Ryan Katz beat us. That didn't work out so hot with Canfield last year, but we don't know yet if Katz will be Canfield. Yes, Oregon State's defense has been rough on us, and on Riley in particular, but I just have a good feeling about Riley going into Corvallis knowing it is his last chance to play in his home state. Riley will step it up. Maybe a performance reminiscent of Nate Longshore at Oregon State in 2006 (341 yards, 4 TD)? Okay, maybe I'm getting carried away.

Bold prediction: Cal 27, Oregon State 23

TwistNHook: It'll be interesting to see how the Beavs deal with being BMOPX:

Pressure? Oh yeah, there is pressure.

The Beavers have been a huge tease, coming within four agonizing quarters of the Rose Bowl two years running.

They have perhaps the greatest brother act in college football history in James and Jacquizz Rodgers.

They have a defensive tackle who will likely be a top 10 NFL draft pick and may be the strongest player in America.

There are niggling issues at linebacker, defensive end, the offensive line, and split end, but some think if (Nolan) Ryan Katz can walk and chew gum at the same time OSU will take the Rose Bowl race down to the wire again.

But no question, the Beavers are not accustomed to having fingers pointed their way when it’s time to talk about Pac-10 championships.

I got the feeling Riley was slightly uncomfortable with a Pac-10 media poll that flattered the Beavers (picked No. 3, with three first-place votes) over the likes of Stanford (fourth), Arizona (fifth) and Washington (sixth), three schools that got at least one first-place vote.

I hope OSU deals as well with pressure and expectations as Cal seems to. How do you guys think OSU will be able to handle the lime light?

HydroTech: I for one, am glad that we play Oregon State in Corvallis. Because Tedford is a whopping 0-4 against Oregon State at home in Memorial. So we have a chance at winning now!

More seriously now, Oregon State has to be one of the most underrated Pac-10 programs of the past few years. They don't have a lot of bling. They don't have a lot of flash. They don't really post spectacular recruiting classes, but those damn Beavers find ways to win. It's frustrating.

This year they look to be another solid team. You never know, they could knock off USC, and Oregon. It's not like they haven't done it before. Limelight or not, I fear this team year in and year out.

NorCalNick: Oregon St. will probably be thrilled to be back home in this game - it will be their first game in Reser Stadium in four weeks. The Beavers will be coming into the game off of a bye as well, though I don't think that's particularly meaningful.

I hope the football team will want to win this game as much as I want to. Oregon St. is the only team in the Pac-10 to have won three straight games against the Tedford Bears other than USC, and three of the losses are easily in the top ten of my most awful Memorial Stadium experiences. If Cal beats OSU that means they will probably ride a three game winning streak into their end-of-season matchups with Oregon, Stanford and Washington. Lose and Cal is probably not carrying any momentum or expectations of an above average season into November.

TwistNHook: A key to this game will how incoming QB Ryan Katz, potentially the son of hilarious TV psychologist Dr. Katz, plays. USA Today takes a closer look at this squiggly cartoon character:

The 2010 season could come down to whether the potential that's been shown by Ryan Katz can be turned into performance for the sophomore quarterback who will make his first collegiate start on Sept. 4 when Oregon State opens the season against TCU.

"There is no doubt this is a heck of a baptism for Ryan Katz," OSU coach Mike Riley said.

With both a strong passing arm and better running ability than the Beavers have had at the position in this decade, all signs point to Katz being up to the task. But his college experience consists of 27 passing attempts as a backup last season.

"He is pretty much unflappable so I don't think he'll be intimidated by anything," Riley said. "The transition always provides a mystery ... he's going to be good."

That's the problem! Tedford keeps getting flappable QBs. We should endeavor for the unflappable!

And how did Katz do in those 29 pass attempts?


Year Att. Comp. Int. Yds PCT TD Long

2009 27 14 0 232 .519 1 56


Game Att. Comp. Int. Yds TD

Portland State 12 7 0 124 0

Washington 2 1 0 9 0

Washington St. 7 4 0 53 0

BYU 6 2 0 46 1

Not bad, not great, but the vast majority were against Portland State and Washington State, so they are minimal.

NorCalNick: It's tough doing a preview on Katz and OSU right now because by the time Cal visits Corvallis the Beavers will have already played perhaps three ranked teams on the road (They may call it neutral, but playing TCU in Texas is on the road). Hopefully for us Katz has had his confidence destroyed by early defeats and proceeds to throw four interceptions! of course I'm sure OSU will follow their typical form by losing those games and then beating Cal because of 4 goofy turnovers and fly sweep after fly sweep.

Berkelium97: Oregon State has gone 2-2 after its first four games every year since 2005. If it breaks the mold and somehow goes 4-0 against the likes of TCU, Boise St, Louisville, and ASU, then they should go on to beat Cal and the rest of the Pac-10 en route to a Rose Bowl. In case that doesn't happen...

During an impressive fourth-quarter comeback, the young Oregon St quarterback has a chance to lead his team down the field for an important victory. He gets inside the fifteen with enough time for one last play before stopping the clock to settle for a field goal. Katz's youth catches up to him as he mishandles the snap and can't drop back to pass before his own center steps on his foot, sending poor Katz to the turf. Cal narrowly holds on to upset the Beavs 31-28. The ever-calm Mike Riley shrugs his shoulders, gently hands his clipboard and headset to the backup QB, and goes into the locker room.

NorCalNick: ...meanwhile, an energetic Kevin Riley runs to Jeff Tedford, grabs his clipboard, and joyously throws it high into the air in celebration.