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Stunned In Seattle, Can Cal Take Down The Huskies Up North?

TwistNHook: We have not won up in Seattle in several years now. UW has become a thorn in the side of Cal fans recently. Let's not forget last year's painful loss at home on a last second rush. The year before, it was an embarrassing blowout, denying Cal its 9th win.

But now their star QB Jake Locker is gone. And no person will take this challenge lightly. What are your thoughts on this game? Can Cal actually win up in Seattle?

Berkelium97: Back to back road games in Husky stadium and then Autzen--this is going to be a big test of Maynard's composure in extremely hostile road environments.

OhioBear: Having lived as a Cal fan through much of the time period when we went winless against Washington (1976 to 2002), it doesn't really feel like all that long since we won at Husky Stadium. But I guess it's been 6 years since we Ayoob'd them in Seattle in 2005.

Can Cal win up there? Sure we can. Washington has its own question mark at QB. Perhaps it's better we get them earlier rather than later in the Pac-12 season because of that. Of course, they could say the same about us. We'll see which quarterback and offense have adjusted better and improved more through the first three weeks of the season. Hopefully, it will be Zach Maynard and the Cal offense.

NorCalNick: I'm not sure what to make of Washington without Locker. Certainly it's true that Sarkisian has vastly improved the talent levels since the Willingham days, but being better than 0-12 isn't really saying much. And I certainly believe that we would have defeated Washington (perhaps easily) with a healthy Kevin Riley at QB last year. I'm still not convinced that Washington has the talent level to really take things to the next level, especially considering their iffy QB situation. Consider this except from a Mike Silver column on Jake Locker:

"My first exposure to Locker, watching a game on TV, I did not like what I saw. He threw errant passes and wasn’t very accurate. But then I saw the tape and realized it’s not him. He had more drops [by receivers] than anyone in the Pac-10, and he was running for his life – his line was probably the worst in the conference."
It's up to you to decide if you agree with this scout's analysis, but his basic argument was that Washington's offense was only functional because of Locker's (and, presumable, Chris Polk's) immense talent. Maybe another year of recruiting and experience has shored up Washington's holes, but I think they might still be a year away.

Berkelium97: Washington should open the season with a win over Eastern Washington. Then they have a pair of games that should tell us how good (or bad) they will be this season--vs Hawaii and at Nebraska. If they lose both, the Bears should be favored to win. If they win both...we should be very worried. If they split, then they may be on par with last year's team.

TwistNHook: There is a chance that Cal might face Joe Montana's son when they travel up to the Pacific Northwest. However, it appears after Spring Practice that he is going to be second string behind Keith Price:

Price played turnover free ball in the scrimmage, completing 15-of-23 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, according to the Seattle Times. When asked about players who stood out in the scrimmage, coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned Price first.

"He threw the ball downfield well," Sarkisian said, according to The Times. "His pocket presence was good, moving around in the pocket -- and his command."

Sarkisian declined to name a starter out of the battle between Price, a sophomore, and redshirt freshman Nick Montana. Price’s experience would seem to give him an edge. And his performance Saturday, particularly in eluding a pass rush, helped him build on it.

LeonPowe: Perhaps it's my old blueness, but I'm always extra worried on the road. Particularly the last few years under Tedford, we haven't played as well as we would like and expect on the road. With a new QB and untested line, this one has me worried. Wait, so does every game.

Kodiak: In the Pac-10/12 it usually comes down to having upper classmen talent, and an experienced QB. UW has proven studs at RB, WR, and DT. (Polk, Kearse, Ta'amu) But the big question mark is at QB. Very rarely does a new signal caller find sustained success in this league. Even golden boy Matt Barkley has struggled at times the past two years despite having arguably the best supporting cast that money can buy. Um. Allegedly.

This one could be a defensive struggle. It's early in the year, so their new QB might be cancelled out by our new QB. Although our projected starter, Maynard, has more Div I experience, you can call it a push because it's on the road.

The rubber meets the road in the trenches Last year, their Dline just blew up our Oline when it counted...and then their Oline ran it down our throats with the game on the line.

I have no idea how it's going to play out this year. If Coach M can work some miracles, maybe our Oline can hold its own - it could be tough sledding up the middle, but our guys have shown some pretty good agility at getting outside. I feel better about our D holding their ground - if our offense can avoid prolonged ineptitude with putting our defensive players in repeated short fields and excessive minutes on the field, I think UW will be exposed for being overly reliant on Jake Locker's athleticism the past few years.

solarise: If I were Coach P, I'd key in on Chris Polk and make Keith Price beat me. I have every confidence in our d-line & linebacker corp to contain the pre-season All-Pac12 running back.

TwistNHook: Any score predictions?

OhioBear: We will shock ourselves by winning this game.

Cal 24, Washington 19

Kodiak: Juju mad.

Berkelium97: It will be a close game, dominated by the defensive front seven for each team (much like last year). However, unlike last year, we will have just enough offense for the Bears to scrape by thanks to Maynard. Cal 20, UW 17

NorCalNick: My feeling is that Cal should be favored in each of their first three 'real' games (sorry Presbyterian!) but that the Bears are unlikely to win all three. I predicted they'd beat Fresno St. and Colorado, so I suppose that means I should predict that they will lose to Washington.

We'll be playing a team smarting after a road loss to Nebraska, but back at home looking to stop a losing streak before it starts. Cal's offense will struggle against the best defense they've played in the season to date, and Chris Polk does just enough to offset an ineffective UW passing attack. The Huskies take it, 17-13.

LeonPowe: Cal 17 UW 7 - a rainy saturday limits offense. Cal gets a defensive touch and wins in the bad weather