Today we check in with Mike Riley of the Beavers. He knows his team has had some great success against Cal in recent history, but he recognizes that has no influence on Saturday's outcome. And while the Beavs have run wild on the Bears defense in the last few years (2008 excepted), in recent weeks the OSU run game has struggled. Riley hopes to get that run game working this week against a stout Cal front seven.
On past success against Cal …
"Every year is a new year. You can’t put too much stock in the past. Because, however, both staffs have been there, we look at last year’s game and try to use that in preparation for this game. In terms of new personnel, both these teams are at different places – certainly we are. It becomes a brand new game."
On a common thread in the recent victories over Cal …
"This is our old cliché here – it’s whoever plays the best that day. We’ve played well against Cal. We have a ton of respect for Jeff (Tedford) and that program. We’ve had a long-standing rivalry – you always feel that way for teams in the league, but especially when staffs have been there for a while. It always seems hard. They’re always a good, well-coached team, and it’s going to be no different this time."
On the recent success of the fly sweep …
"A lot of it has to do with winning at the line of scrimmage. You would think that if we have a good balance with our fly sweep we’d be doing better inside, and that’s our goal. If you look at attacking a defense, you want to have all parts working – the inside run, the outside run, the play-action pass, and your drop-back game. You want all those things to be basically on attack-mode hurting the defense. We have not hit on all cylinders and we’re missing that part of the game, but we’re going to work hard to try to get it back. We picked a tough team to do it against. We played the three top defenses in the league the last three weeks, Cal is now No. 2. We’re hitting some rough sledding here, but that’s not going to diminish our will to run the football."
After the jump the Bears open as 9.5-point favorites, the Big Game gets picked up by ESPN/ABC, and Wilkerson/McCain may end up playing against OSU.
- The Bears are 9.5-point favorites over Oregon State.
Wilner gives the Bears a B+ for the win over Wazzu.
- Cal might have limited depth at outside linebacker on Saturday. David Wilkerson's knee injury appears to be serious and Chris McCain has not yet been cleared to play. Update: Wilkerson is day-to-day with a bone bruise in his knee.
The Beavers have yet to put together a complete game this year. Will their recent history of success against Cal be continued this year?
- The Big Game will be nationally televised on ESPN or ABC. The game will kick off at either 5pm or 7:15pm, depending on the outcome of this weekend's Oregon-Stanford game. If Oregon wins, the Big Game will be at 7:15pm. If the unthinkable happens, the game will start at 5pm.
- Faraudo and several other Pac-12 writers have a great roundtable on the upcoming season. They ponder who will win the conference, who will be player of the year, who is most underrated, etc.
- Rivals projects the NCAA tournament. The Bears are a 6-seed. Other Pac-12 teams include Arizona (4), UCLA (7), UW (7), and Oregon (12).
- CBSSports ranks college basketball's top players. Jorge is 47th and Crabbe is 77th.
- Alex Rossi was elected as president of the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
- Tyrone Wallace committed to the Bears. Rivals and Scout respectively name him the 78th/77th overall prospect.
- Earl Robinson will receive the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award at halftime of the December 19th Cal-UCSB game.