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May All Orange And Black Teams In AT + T Park Have Offensive Problems - Cal Versus OSU Football In 2011

[We're talking OSU Beavers today. We spoke with AndyPanda over at SBN's Oregon State site, BuildingTheDam. He provides his thoughts at the end of the piece. Enjoy!]

TwistNHook: Another game that I just don't feel very strong about. Maybe this is the year we defeat OSU and end the streak, but the Beavers always seem to have our number. Away. Home. It doesn't matter, we can't seem to make headway against the Orange and Black. How do all y'all (correct usage!) see the Oregon State game turning out for Cal???

Berkelium97: Oregon State has delivered to us some of the most painful losses in recent years. In 2007 it was the Kevin Riley fiasco, in 2008 a pair of Alamar Specials and Riley's pick-six masked an otherwise impressive defensive effort, in 2009 they ended Jahvid Best's career at Cal, and in 2010 they ended Kevin Riley's career at Cal. You know what? The streak stops this year.

The Beavers lost a huge part of their offense when Quizz unexpectedly declared for the draft. His brother James will return, but he is coming off two knee surgeries this offseason. Remember Joe "Another Tight End Touchdown" Halahuni? He underwent offseason surgery to repair a shoulder injury. They do return young QB Ryan Katz, whose stats were okay last season (60.0% but only 6.76 ypa, 17 TDs, 11 ints). Markus Wheaton should be a good replacement for Quizz, but I doubt he will transform into the remarkable player Quizz was.

On defense they return only four starters from a unit that gave up 27 points and over 400 yards per game last season (though they did manage to hold Cal and USC to 7 points each).

The Beavers underperformed last season and will likely bounce back from the 5-7 season, but they have a lot of work to do before they reach their '08-'09 levels where they nearly took the conference title. If they manage not to injure one of our critical offensive players (someone give Keenan Allen some body armor), if Pete Alamar's ghost does not continue to haunt us, and if Maynard does not lose his mind, the Beavers will have their work cut out for them in San Francisco on November 12th.

Of course, crazy things happen when we play OSU so I would not be shocked if we find a new and unimaginably agonizing way to lose.

NorCalNick: I've been decidedly pessimistic about OSU's chances this year, to the point where I thought Cal should be a solid favorite over the Beavers at home. The news that James Rodgers should return healthy might push the game more towards a toss-up. But I still think Cal could win.

Let's be honest. If it wasn't for Cal's bleak recent history against Oregon St. (which Berkelium so cruelly recounted) most Cal fans would be pretty optimistic. Sure, Oregon St. has been pretty good under Mike Riley. But they've also vastly overachieved relative to their recruited talent. That finally didn't happen last year, and they lost their best player on both sides of the ball from that team. When I look at the Beavers I see a team trending downwards since their height in 2008.
Of course, the standings say that Cal has been trending downwards too. But while Cal's records have been ugly, the recruiting results haven't. Cal looks much more likely to reverse that trend than OSU. Hopefully that's what we see when the two teams face off this year.

Atomsareenough: Let me just say it straight up: I hate the Beavers. I hate them more than any other team in the conference except Stanfurd. Yeah, USC is annoying in football and UCLA is annoying in basketball, but OSU is straight up annoying, period. I hate their stupid Halloween Giants colors, I don't like their mascot, I don't like their band, I don't really like anything about them except that I guess Oregon seems like a nice enough state, which is way more than I can say about say, Arizona. I don't like watching us play them, in any sport. Somehow it feels like they've cornered the market on "irritatingly overachieving". Their style of play in basketball is not at all pleasing to watch. I have an irrational fear of their football players. Yvenson Bernard still looms large in my mind, and part of me wonders how that guy didn't end up a Pro Bowler, let alone even actually in the NFL. I've now grown to associate Oregon State with a feeling of impending doooooooom.

Yet for some reason that I can't really put my finger on, this year I find myself having this feeling that if the Beavers can somehow manage not to inflict another grotesque injury to a key Cal player, we will finally take a game from them. It seems like almost every year you look at the Beavers and say, okay, looks like they just don't have the pieces, and then they go out and win a bunch of games anyway, but honestly, with Quizz gone and his brother James perhaps a bit of a question mark due to his injuries, I feel like we might finally be able to exorcise our Beaver demons and exact some revenge this year. Like I said, I can't explain it, and maybe it's just that endless font of preseason optimism that infects every fan, but it's the first time in several years that I don't have that sinking feeling about Oregon State. Maybe it's the fact that they also finished 5-7 last year, losing 4 out of their last 5 games after beating us, including getting Coug'd! along the way and being shut out completely by Stanfurd. They seem to have lost something. Anyway, I'm not saying it'll be easy, but I'm feeling just the tiniest bit sanguine.

OhioBear: This might be the first year since 2007 where we should feel like a solid favorite against the Beavos. Think about it--
2008: The game was in Corvallis and OSU was playing very well, riding the wave toward what they hoped would bea Rose Bowl bid. (Oregon put the kibbosh on that in the Civil War, you'll recall.) We were a clear underdog and, frankly, not as good a team as they were.
2009: Home game, sure. But I had a bad feeling going into that one. Oregon State was once again on the upswing, and were ultimately headed to a for-the-Rose Bowl showdown game with Oregon. We were coming off a three-game win streak, but had not done it against anyone particularly good. Even before Jahvid Best's ugly injury, it was pretty clear that the Beavos were the superior team that day.
2010: No. Contest.

Berkelium97: Offensive line should be a weakness for the Beavs this season. Although they return four starters, they gave up 35 sacks last year (Cal was only sacked 23 times). Even with Quizz in the backfield, they only averaged 3.76 yards per carry, while the Bears averaged 4.44 ypc. As bad as our O-line was last year, we might have actually had a better line than Oregon State.

With our front seven, we should be able to exploit their rebuilding running game and shaky pass protection. In Pendergast we trust.

Kodiak: For whatever reason, it always feels like Mike Riley's defense is a bad matchup for Jeff Tedford's offense. They don't do a lot of things schematically, but their guys fly to the ball. They like to play tight bump and run with their corners to force you to beat them over the top. If you can't establish your running game, and your wideouts have trouble getting clean releases, it can play havoc with your offensive rhythm. Aaron Rodgers didn't have too many off games, but I distinctly remember that one of them came against OSU.

Perhaps this year will be different. Not only does it look like we'll have a dual-threat quarterback to keep the defense guessing, but the Beavers have a lot of holes. They only have four returning starters on defense, and have two starting Dlinemen who might be unavailable.

Although Wheaton is an emerging talent, both James Rodgers and Halahuni are still recovering from injury. More significantly, their Oline is a big question mark and as is tailback. Mike Riley has had an amazing run of finding star running backs from diamonds in the rough, but I don't see anyone as dynamic as Bernard, Steven Jackson, or Quizz waiting in the wings. Then again, we never do until it's too late.

I think this is finally the year we stop getting Beaved. No Quizz means their offense becomes entirely mortal, and we can unleash the hounds on Katz. If this were a road game, I'd be panicked instead of being merely worried. Instead, I think our defense dominates and our offense does just enough to make this one a decisive Cal victory.

TwistNHook: Any score predictions?

OhioBear: With no Yvenson Bernard or Quizz Rodgers to deal with, Cal gets the Oregon State monkey off its back. For this year anyway.
Cal 28, OSU 21.

Berkelium97: Unless Ryan Katz, Joe Halahuni, and James Rodgers turn into All-Pac-12 players against us (which I'm not necessarily ruling out), the Bears will have their best chance in years to give Tedford his first home-game win over Oregon State.

Cal 21, Beavs 17

LeonPowe: Isn't James Rodgers already an all Pac Performer? Anyway, I think a close win for the Bears 24-17

Atomsareenough: Maynard has a great game, Bigelow makes some tantalizing plays, the defense is solid.... Cal 35, OSU 20.

Berkelium97: He certainly was, but it's unclear how long it will take for him to regain his form. As of now, he's only allowed to practice in a "limited" manner for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. They're taking it very slowly with him, so he might not be at 100% until we're partway through the season. Of course, I expecting that he will miraculously return to full strength the night of November 11th.

NorCalNick: Cal wins 27-16. It's the most cathartic win of the Tedford era since 'furd in 2009.

HydroTech: It seems like every year we play OSU, something has to go wrong with the team. In 2010, Riley gets injured. In 2009, Best gets injured. In 2008, Cal is suffering from double QB woes. In 2007, Longshore gets injured and Riley.... well, I think that's all I have to say about that. In 2006, Cal actually wins a game for once (requiring that Cal has its second strongest Cal team of the Tedford era to do it). In 2005, Lynch fumbles the ball a bagillion times.

Every year it's something... what is it going to be this year? Cal suffers from more QB problems? Cal has its star player injured? Ugh. I hope not.

I'm not looking forward to this game. It seems like there is nothing to look forward to when Cal plays Oregon State.

I could see Cal winning this game by a small margin or losing big.

AndyPanda: A couple of notes, the two defensive players that were in question, Masaniai and Glover, now appear to have their issues taken care of.

Coach Riley's incredibly slow and cautious approach with a number of players coming back from issues, Rodgers included, could get the Beavers off to a slow start, but by the time we come down to SF, it will be so late in the year that will be history. Unless the team gets in such a deep hole the season is lost early on, I do expect last year's late season struggle to be replaced by another stronger finish, more typical of Riley's teams and his approach.

My main concerns remain whether Oregon St. can run the ball, and that's on the line much more than the backs, or stop the run, due to the lack of size on the front 7 other than a couple of players.

I find the parallels between these two teams remarkable, as both could contend for the division if everything goes right, and they get some help (called the UofO-Stanford game going the right way), and either team could also fall all the way to the bottom if the answer to enough of the questions turns out to be "no".

Neither outcome is likely because its so unlikely that everything will go right, or wrong, and both are probably headed along with Washington for a heck of a battle in the middle of the pack. When I go to AT&T, I expect to be covering what is probably a bowl-game qualifier or elimination game for both teams.

Even the quarterback situation is similar. For good reasons, both at your place and ours, the home beat guys are higher on their guy than everyone else. There seems to be a lot of optimism for Maynard in Bear land, while most of the rest of us that cover the Pac I think have a wait and see attitude. Similarly, your crew looks at Katz's overall numbers and rightfully have similar reservations.

I think that's because at least some of your crew has seen Maynard up close multiple times, and have more data to work with. The same is the case with Katz. Those of us who see him on a daily basis know what the potential is.

The same applies down through both rosters. The next few weeks is all about which young men approach their potential, and which staff best sees into the future and makes the right call about who to use where, and how.

I have a feeling your guys and Connor and I will write a lot of stories this fall where we could cut and paste names and not really be sure which story is which.