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QB news, injury update, links

Posted by Eric | October 11, 2007 at 10:22 pm | In DeSean, Players/Alumni, Ranks/Predictions | 3 Comments

QB Nate Longshore’s availability (sprained left ankle) for the Oregon State match-up will be a gametime decision, according to Coach Jeff Tedford. Apparently, backup QB Kevin Riley has been taking about 75 percent of the first team snaps in practice and is looking pretty confident.

Regarding the other injuries: LB Zach Follett should be back in action on Saturday, FB Will Ta’ufo’ou (knee) is questionable, DB Marcus Ezeff (quad) who made the winning tackle of the Oregon game is a gametime decision, and DE Rulon Davis (foot) and PK Tom Schneider are still out.

Also, here are a few miscellaneous links of interest:

  • ESPN has a midseason review of the Pac-10, naming Cal the “biggest surprise” as a national title contender, RB Justin Forsett as the conference MVP, and Coach Tedford the conference’s coach of the year.
  • ESPN’s NFL draft guru Mel Kiper thinks Longshore is the #1 junior quarterback, WR/PR DeSean Jackson is an “obvious” first-round pick, and WR Lavelle Hawkins should be a third-rounder.
  • The Sacramento Bee has a feature on CB Syd’Quan Thompson and LB Worrell Williams — apparently, Marshawn isn’t the only mama’s boy.
  • The sports center lawsuit is finally wrapping up, and the lawyers made closing arguments earlier today.
  • DeSean was interviewed by KRON 4’s Gary Radnich yesterday — he is a confident, charismatic guy who seems to have really won Radnich over.

Cal rises to #2, USC falls

Posted by Eric | October 7, 2007 at 2:56 pm | In Ranks/Predictions | 3 Comments

#2

Despite the bye week, Cal has risen to #2 in all polls (AP, USA Today/Coaches, Harris) after USC’s meltdown loss to Stanford yesterday. The Bears are maintaining a narrow margin of only a few points over #3 Ohio State (who beat then-#23 Purdue pretty convincingly) in all of the polls.

In other news around the conference, UCLA was humiliated by a horrible Notre Dame squad and Arizona State escaped with a close victory over Washington State.

What does this all mean? Cal will be in the national championship game in January if the Bears keep winning — and the results of weekend give me confidence that success on the road there is becoming a likely reality. USC showed vulnerability in a stunning loss to a terrible team, while UCLA and Arizona State (two of the tough road games ahead) both appear very beatable. Even if Cal suffers a loss in the difficult remainder of the season, the hopes of a BCS game for the Bears are looking bright.

Cal #3, Jackson Pac-10 PotW

Posted by Eric | October 1, 2007 at 2:30 pm | In Awards, DeSean, Ranks/Predictions | 2 Comments

The Bears have reached their highest ranking since 1952: #3 in the AP, USA Today/Coaches, and Harris polls. As discussed in the post-Oregon post, Cal’s victory and the losses of last week’s #3, #4, and #5 propelled the Bears to the third spot, immediately behind LSU and USC (with USC now #2 in the AP).

Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson has received the honors for the Pac-10 Player of the Week (offense) for his amazing performance on Saturday (see video highlights, GameDay interview):

Jackson, a senior from Long Beach, Calif., provided the big plays on offense in California’s 31-24 road win at Oregon. Jackson pulled in 11 receptions for 161 yards (14.6), both career highs, including two touchdown passes covering 25 and 31 yards. In addition to Pac-10 player of the week honors, he was named national Offensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Foundation. It marked the second Pac-10 player of the week honors for Jackson this year, having previously been named for special teams work in California’s win against Tennessee.

LB Anthony Felder and P Andrew Larson were also nominated for the award.

EDIT 10/2: Jackson has also received the USA TODAY Player of the Week honor:

California wide receiver DeSean Jackson had 11 catches for 161 yards in a defeat of No. 12 Oregon to earn this week’s USA TODAY’s Player of the Week honor. Jackson scored twice on receptions of 25 and 31 yards as the No. 6 Bears stayed unbeaten with a 31-24 victory. Jackson won the award with the support of college football editor Erick Smith and Gannett News Service columnist Mike Lopresti. Fan voting sided with Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn.

#6 AP, Coaches, Harris

Posted by Eric | September 23, 2007 at 4:25 pm | In Ranks/Predictions | No Comments

Cal is now the consensus #6 team in the nation.

While the Bears were already #6 in the AP poll, they have now risen to the same spot in the USA Today/Coaches poll (moving past Wisconsin who struggled against Iowa, and leapfrogging Texas). Meanwhile, the first Harris Poll was released, with Cal also taking the #6 slot. The Coaches’ and Harris polls make up the bulk of the BCS ranking calculation, so the Bears are in a good position for a BCS berth if the season continues to go well.

As a side note, Oregon is now #11 in the AP, #12 in the Coaches, and #10 in the Harris poll.

Cal #6 in AP, NC contender

Posted by Eric | September 17, 2007 at 4:03 pm | In Ranks/Predictions | No Comments

Cal has again leapfrogged a team (Texas, who narrowly escaped UCF of Conference USA) and is now ranked #6 in the Associated Press poll. The Bears remain #8 in the USA Today/Coaches poll but have narrowed the point differential to be only a few points behind #7 Wisconsin and #6 Texas.

Meanwhile, an article in the New York Times has declared an “elite class of teams … that could conceivably win the national title.” This short list of six teams includes Cal:

And behind them, there is apparently a large gap to second-tier teams, which are beating one another to perpetuate the illusion of parity. Four of those six top teams — Southern California, Louisiana State, Oklahoma and Florida — have better chances than the other two — California and West Virginia. But these six teams are so far ahead of the pack that any notion that the championship race is wide open is laughable.

The article lists USC’s “game to watch” is their visit to Cal on November 10, describing it as “the West Coast’s biggest game of the year.” As for Cal:

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT ALL: The Bears have already trounced Tennessee and play top-ranked U.S.C. at home in November. DeSean Jackson is one of the country’s most dynamic players. WHY THEY CAN’T WIN IT ALL: A pass defense ranked No. 78 nationally (241.67 yards a game) and an overall defense ranked No. 69 (371.33) does not bode well for Pacific-10 play. GAME TO WATCH: On Sept. 29 at Oregon. The Ducks have blown out Houston, Michigan and Fresno State.

Bears move to #8 in polls

Posted by Eric | September 9, 2007 at 4:42 pm | In Ranks/Predictions | 3 Comments

With yesterday’s 34-28 victory over Colorado State, Cal rose in the AP and Coaches polls to the #8 spot from #10 last week.

The Bears moved past Virginia Tech (who dropped to 18/17 in the polls after a blowout loss to #2 LSU) and leapfrogged Louisville (who struggled against Middle Tennessee of the Sun Belt conference). It’s questionable whether Cal’s performance against the Rams justified this jump, but we’ll take it. Cal seems to be favored heavily in the media this season, including the polls. Hopefully, the mistakes of yesterday’s game will be a learning experience for the future and the Bears will live up to the praise.

As a side note, the Pac-10 is looking more and more like a power conference this season, with four squads in the top 25 (#1 USC, #8 Cal, #11 UCLA, #19 Oregon) and two more teams receiving substantial votes (Washington and Arizona State).

AP/Coaches polls: Cal is #10

Posted by Eric | September 4, 2007 at 3:38 pm | In Ranks/Predictions | 1 Comment

Cal has moved up in the polls following Saturday’s victory over Tennessee.

The Bears gained 290 points (to 1080) in the Associated Press poll. In the Coaches’ poll, Cal gained 222 points (to 985), also obtaining the #10 spot. In both polls, Cal moved to #10 from #12 and Tennessee dropped to #24 from #15.

Meanwhile, Cal’s at #6 in ESPN’s own Power 16 rankings.

AP: #12, ESPN Power: #14

Posted by Eric | August 19, 2007 at 10:40 am | In Ranks/Predictions | No Comments

The Associated Press Top 25 for the pre-season has been released: Cal takes the #12 spot, just like in the Coaches’ Poll.

Meanwhile, ESPN released its pre-season Power Rankings a few days ago with Cal at #14.

Cal #12 in preseason Coaches Poll

Posted by Eric | August 3, 2007 at 7:16 am | In Ranks/Predictions | 2 Comments

Cal has been voted #12 in the 2007 preseason USA Today’s Coaches Poll, which was released this morning:

2007 Coaches Poll

Note that USC is at #1, Tennessee is at #15, and UCLA is at #17. Here’s the “breakdown” blurb on Cal:

12. California (10-3)

Points: 763. Previous ranking: 14. Outlook: With QB Nate Longshore throwing to standout WR DeSean Jackson, and LB Zack Follett patrolling defense, the Bears could be primed for a BCS breakthrough. A reworked defensive front could be key. Cal gets Tennessee and Southern California at home and travels to UCLA. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. No. 15 Tennessee (ABC, 8 ET).

Cal #2 in Pac-10 media poll

Posted by Eric | July 26, 2007 at 10:32 am | In Ranks/Predictions | No Comments

For the fourth consecutive season, Cal has been picked to finish second in the conference in the Pac-10 media poll. Here are the results:

1. USC, 390
2. Cal, 323
3. UCLA, 305
4. Arizona State, 242
5. Oregon State, 237
6. Oregon, 226
7. Arizona, 162
8. Washington State, 115
9. Washington, 98
10. Stanford, 47

It’s the fifth consecutive time that USC has been picked to finish first in the Pac-10. However, this time all 39 ballots have USC in the top spot. In contrast, last year Cal received 7 out of 29 first place votes.

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