TwistNHook: WSU. At home. Is this a game we can win?
Then again, last year WSU finally started to show signs of life. It took a Jeremy Ross miracle (kind of like a Christmas miracle) to beat them. They even knocked off constant Cal foe, Oregon State. The quarterback Tuel was slinging it out there. This isn't 2008's doormat anymore. But still. At home. We got this one, right? Right?
NorCalNick: The big question will be how far along the 'Longest Rebuilding Plan Ever' has progressed. Clearly the Cougs have made major strides towards respectability, but Cal should be expected to beat your average respectable Pac-12 team at home.
Berkelium97: Jeff Tuel has been receiving considerable praise as he heads into the 2011 season. He was first on Bruce Feldman's list of great players on bad teams. The junior earned spot no. 20 on Ted Miller's Pac-12 top 25 players and many expect him to improve again this year.
When you look at his stat line (59.8%, 2780 yards, 18TDs, 12 interceptions) he looks like a solid quarterback. But when you look at his situational stats, you get a completely different story.
When the Cougs are tied or have the lead he completed 50.8% of his passes, tossed 1 TD, and threw 4 interceptions.
When the Cougs are losing by a TD or less, he completed 52.7% of his passes, threw 2 TDs, and threw 1 interception.
When the gap grew to 8-14 pts, his completion rises to 61.7% and he has 8TDs and 3 interceptions.
When his team was losing by 15+ points, the completion rate rises to 69.9% with 7TDs and 4 interceptions.
Similarly, as the game progresses, his stats improve. His 1st quarter QB rating is 94.27, rising to 130.22 in the second quarter, 132.27 in the third, and a brilliant 177.59 in the fourth (more often than not the opponent built up an insurmountable lead by this point).
What this tells us is that Tuel is a great QB when the opponent backs off and sends in its second and third-string units. When the game counts, he has not yet been able to make the plays to help his team win (nor has he had the O-line to allow him to make those plays). Paul Wulff addressed this issue at media day and stressed that "
I don't doubt that Tuel can be a decent QB. But until he puts up solid numbers when the game is still on the line, I will not expect him or WSU to have much prowess on offense.
TwistNHook: Of course, Tuel needs somebody to throw to. At Pac-12 Media Day, Coach Paul Wulff brought wide receiver Jared Karstetter. At 6'4" and over 200 pounds, Karstetter is a large target for Tuel. I believe he is bigger than any corners we have. Here are his stats from last year:
TwistNHook: Any score predictions?
Berkelium97: Though their offense may improve marginally, I don't have much reason to believe the Cougs will not have the conference's worst defense once again. Like Kodiak said, all we have to do is show up and we will be able to put some points on the board. Since Pendergast is going to make them punt all day, the Cougs are going to miss their star punter Reid Forrest.
Cal jumps out to a big lead and Tuel puts up more great numbers in garbage time. Final score: Cal 45, WSU 24