Now that Andrew Luck has graduated with his unaccredited degree in architecture, Cal has to like its chances in this year's Big Game. Two weeks ago Cal fans had little optimism about anything, let alone the Big Game. After two solid wins and consecutive struggles from Stanford, Cal fans are starting to look forward to the Big Game.
Funny how the season changes shape. Three weeks ago it was hard to imagine the Bears staying on the field with Stanford.
Now? You have to like their chances (and the oddsmakers do: Cal opened as a 1.5-point underdog).
Cal should be in the game in the fourth quarter with a shot to win – just as it was last year, at Stanford, against Andrew Luck.
* Aside from the obvious (limit turnovers), the keys for Cal are being physical up front and giving its playmakers opportunities to influence the outcome.
That means getting them the ball in advantageous positions, whether it’s Allen with a step on a cornerback or Bigelow in space on the perimeter or Sofele with a lane on the stretch play.
* I picked Cal to beat Stanford in my preseason projections and, despite what has transpired the past six weeks, believe the Bears have the ingredients to make it happen.
As for the Lobsterbacks, they have every reason to be worried about this game. They have yet to score an offensive touchdown on the road and they face a stout Cal defense at Memorial Stadium.
Troublesome, with the operative word being "at." (The Cardinal opened as a 1.5-point favorite. Were the game at Stanford Stadium, the line would probably be 6 or 7.)
The Bears have the speed and the playmakers to give Stanford problems, especially on the turf — if Cal can find a way to get Keenan Allen, Isi Sofele, Richard Rodgers and Brendan Bigelow the ball in positions to make plays.
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- Don't forget to keep liking the Cal Alumni Association's Big Game photos. The CAA posts a new photo each day this week. We cannot allow the Stanford Alumni Association to earn more likes for its photos. Spam that like button!
- Players and coaches may not be happy with the timing of it, but it's Big Game Week!
- Depending on where you place your bets, Cal is between a 1.5 and 2.5-point underdog for the Big Game.
- After growing tired of being asked "What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers?", Rodgers put up a career high and franchise-record 6 TD passes against the previously undefeated Houston Texans.
- Richard Rodgers talks about growing up as the son of a participant in The Play. He didn't realize it until 5th or 6th grade, as the elder Rodgers does not make a big fuss about it. One lesson the younger Rodgers did learn form The Play is never to give up until the game is over.
- John Breech hands out some midseason awards and posts his All-Pac-12 team. As first-team punt-returner, Keenan Allen is the only Cal participant.
- Steve Williams was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Keenan Allen was nominated for Offensive PotW but lost to a worth foe in Cody Vaz.
- Uncle Ted posts his midseason report for Cal. Keenan Allen and Steve Williams are the respective offensive and defensive MVPs.
- 5-star recruit Marcus Lee is close to making his decision between Cal and UK. The Bay Area PF visited Kentucky last weekend and will visit Cal this weekend.
- Both the men's and women's teams will have an exhibition before the Big Game this weekend. they will participate in a half-court shooting contest, a shootaround, and several other drills.
- Former pitcher Jocelyn Forest will be inducted into the Cal Hall of Fame. She will be inducted on November 9th (public welcome, although it's $85 per head) and honored at the Cal-Oregon game the following day.
- The Bears lost to Pacific 2-1. Cal has lost 8 games this season, seven by a single goal.