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Cal football roundtables: San Diego State predictions, early Pac-12 expectations

What are your early thoughts on Saturday's game?

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Based on what you saw from Week 1, how have your expectations shifted for Cal in 2015? Are they the same, do you expect more, do you expect less and why?

Keegan Dresow: I do not want my expectations to shift yet. I was cautiously optimistic before the game that the defense had improved. With today's game as evidence, it looks like the defense has taken a major step forward. It was exciting to see. But even though they did everything they could do against an inferior opponent, I want to see them perform well against a Pac 12 caliber offense before I get too excited.

boomtho: My expectations have not shifted at all. I feel like there's very little you can take from a win over an FCS team, unless you look awful. The real tests begin next week.

Nik Jam: None of the teams I felt like Cal could handle showed any seasons that I should be afraid of them. I'm still worried Cal's weak offensive line could cost Cal some games against "swing" games like Texas and Stanford. There's also no conclusive proof that the defense has turned the corner. San Diego State will be a nice test and I'm very excited for it.

KWBears: My expectations stay the same. We won a game that we were supposed to win by a lot. Until we do something that we're not supposed to, my expectations will stay the same.

A.W. Johnston: My expectations haven't changed after this game. Scoring 70+ points against anyone should create a lot of excitement, however if we can repeat that against a non-FCS opponent I will add to my ever growing optimism.

PerryScope: Before the game I thought Cal was going to win 6-7 games, MAYBE 8. However now, I do believe 8 is possible and beyond. Cal's prolific bear raid is going to be tough for any defense to stop, let alone many of the sorry Pac 12 secondaries (especially in the North).

Let's look ahead to Cal-San Diego State. Based on what you've seen, what are your predictions for that game?

Nick Kranz: Last year, San Diego State had a bad offense, and they are breaking in a new quarterback who did not look particularly good in his debut against FCS San Diego. The Aztecs only managed a long pass of 24 yards - I obviously didn't see any of the game, but this is a strong indication that SDSU isn't a team capable of stretching the field right now.

So this should be an interesting test of our defense. They were able to shut down a middling FCS offense. Can they shut down a middling small conference FBS offense? The answer needs to be yes.

I'll predict 42-20, Cal covering by a reasonably comfortable margin.

Keegan Dresow: Of course, I expect Cal to win. But you can never count out a tough, well coached team. San Diego State is that. The first three weeks of Cal's schedule work out well for a team still looking to gain confidence, with each game against an increasingly talented opponent. I circled this game as the must win on the schedule. Cal has a ton of positive momentum at the moment; a loss would severely cripple that momentum, while another big win would serve to give them even more confidence heading into an away game against one of college football's most storied programs.

boomtho: I didn't see any of the SDSU game, so I guess I'm sticking with my initial prediction, which was that Cal should win fairly comfortably. I think it will be a good test for the Bears, but I'm expecting (hoping?) our superior offensive talent to win the day.

Nik Jam: Cal has opened up as a 7.5 favorite, so the game's expected to be close it seems. I'm very excited to see how it turns out. I expect a competitive contest that Cal pulls away from late. It'll be after this game that I can really assess whether to panic or be hopeful. The same goes for the other Pac-12 teams that have faced similar wins or bad losses.

KWBears: SDSU is a more formidable foe than Grambling State was, so I expect a closer game. But, honestly, it should be a blowout nonetheless. I expect to see more practice time for at least our 2nd-stringers, if not our 3rd-stringers too.

A.W. Johnston: I expect Cal's defense to struggle more against San Diego State and give up a lot more points early on. I expect the starting offense to produce quite similarly as last week with the bench having a lot less success against a strong mountain west team.

PerryScope: SDSU is a legit team. They have been to 5 consecutive bowl games. Their defensive scheme is very creative, using many exotic blitz patterns that I suspect Cal will have trouble with early on. On the offensive side, they have a tailback who ran for just under 2000 yards (not Marshall Faulk). They are a legit FBS team with a big boys in the trenches and a physical demeanor. I look forward to Cal winning in a decently sizable fashion. Cal wins 51-35.