1. Who's one player on offense whom Cal fans should know about?
Preston: Gabe Marks. He's arguably the most dynamic receiver on a team with a stable full of really, really good receivers. Dom Williams is having another good season but if Marks can get the football in open space, he can make you pay big time.
Sherwood: Gerard Wicks. He crossed the plane. Oh wait, I thought the question was which player on offense do the officials need to review if they scored the winning touchdown last year. As you were. Falk, I guess?
Anderson: Keith Harrington. He's scored in every game so far, averaging 8.6 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per catch.
Kendall: My choices were taken, so I'll say River Cracraft. If Cal leaves the seam open like Rutgers did, Cracraft will eat them alive.
2. Who's one player on defense whom Cal fans should know about?
Preston: Shalom Luani. WSU's defensive backs are still a work in progress (I'm being polite) and Luani is probably the best of them. He can come down from his safety position and lay the wood in the back field. We haven't seen too much of him in coverage as WSU has played primarily running teams so far but he seems to be capable in that regard.
Sherwood: Peyton Pelluer. I can't vouch for his pass coverage, but I can't remember the last time WSU had a linebacker who could disrupt a backfield as easily as Pelluer makes it look.
Anderson: This comes as a package deal; Ivan McLennon and Kache Palacio. They play the rush end position in WSU's defense and have combined for eight tackles for a loss and each have three sacks. They'll get after Goff, the WSU defense is actually leading the nation in linebacker havoc rate at 9.9 percent -- meaning on nearly 1 of every 10 plays they record a tackle for loss, defensed a pass, or got an interception.
Porter: Jeremiah Allison. The guy is all over the field and plays like each down is his last. Allison has averaged 9.7 tackles a game this season. If the Cougars stand any chance of playing well on defense Allison has to be effective sideline to sideline.
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3. Who's one 'under the radar' or X-factor player who could swing this game for WSU?
Sherwood: Darryl Paulo. WSU will need to get to the quarterback to have any chance on Saturday.
Anderson: Darrien Molton. The freshman corner will be going up against the best WR corps he's seen outside of practice, and WSU will need to keep explosive plays in check if they have any hope of keeping a lid on this thing.
Kendall: Treshon Broughton. If he got up to speed enough to break into the rotation during the bye week, he could play a big role.
4. What would WSU need to do to win the game?
Sherwood: Keep up and hopefully get a couple turnovers. I have a hard time believing WSU wins this game without scoring at least six touchdowns.
Anderson: Score points, cause Cal will. WSU is floundering in the red zone so far this year, if they finish drives they put away both Rutgers and PSU pretty early. Instead they've only turned six of their eleven trips inside the 20 into touchdowns. Turnovers would be a priority too...and going into a game thinking you need a couple extra possessions isn't an entirely confident place to be.
Kendall: They absolutely have to convert more third downs. Right now they're only converting 31.8% (14/44), and that has come against defenses that are allowing a 50% conversion rate (Wyoming) and 33.3% rate (Rutgers). Far as I know, those are the only two games they've played. WSU absolutely has to sustain drives in order to keep the defense on the sideline. Either that or they can just take their chances and go for every fourth down. In this game, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea.
5. What Leach passing concept is the most common right now?
Anderson: They primarily faced soft zone coverages and Falk has been content operating underneath. At this point, it's probably real heavy on Mesh, Stick, and Y-Cross. You'll see a lot of Randy and Larry too. Cal went to a 4-2-5 two-deep zone look against UW's 10 and 20 personnel sets, which leaves a lot of wiggle room for H and Y Option routes too.
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6. How much to do you miss Connor Halliday?
Jeff Nusser: As much as you'll miss Jared Goff next fall.
7. What the heck happened against Portland State?
Preston: Hmm? Don't think we played them this year.
Kendall: What the heck happened against that APR?
8. How likely is Mike Leach to be fired after this year? What does he have to do to buy another year?
Jeff Nusser: Extremely unlikely. Although nothing is impossible, his buyout is prohibitive for a school with an athletic department budget the size of WSU's. Besides, the AD is all-in with Leach, and the school is going through a presidential transition, making it unlikely there will be sweeping changes this year. He probably only needs to avoid doing something to get fired with cause to return in 2016, regardless of on-field results.
9. Who do you want to punch in the face?
Sherwood: People who ask about Portland State.
Preston: Fans of a certain school that decry WSU's "inferiority complex" then act the exact same way towards a school that has beat routinely handed them their ass on a platter for the last decade straight on the football field. Oh, and Howard Schultz.