14.Oct.2013 Oregon State @ California
I remember playing Monopoly as a kid, and the Community Chest cards would always read, “such and such error” in the other guy’s favor. The Cougs’ botched punt felt like that, only in reverse. i.e. [bad] luck of my life, luck o’ the Beavs, etc, IN REVERSE. Pretty amazing. Anyway, I do feel like something clicked at that moment. The play calling became genius, the defense clamped down, …everything clicked. Everything. And even though we can say “well, it was just the Cougs, and they aren’t very good”, I feel like I saw something. A USC 2006 type moment. Maybe I am losing it, as some naysayers here suggested. But I expect a string of victories after that performance. The team has to be feeling great, and that’s infectious and contagious. Hell, even I have Beaver fever (puke). Yeah, there were things I didn’t like: run game, Riley smiling on the sidelines, 3 quarters of anemic football, etc. But big picture, that 4th quarter performance can propel.
Cal is one of the easier games on the schedule, so it’s just a matter of staying focused and not looking ahead to Stanford.
Speaking of which, Stanford’s most impressive win has been Washington. People are chirping that OSU will win a game we don’t expect–could be Stanford. That QB is a bit overrated, and as Harbaugh’s players leave the program…I expect Shaw gets exposed/there is more decline coming.
To me, the worst upcoming matchups are Arizona State and Oregon. Both teams are fast all over with mobile QBs who can also throw. Every other team is beatable so long as the offense stays healthy. I’m on a bit of a high from last week, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think Cal, Stanford, and USC are wins. Arizona State a loss. Washington 50/50. Oregon a loss.
Regarding Cal, the QB is promising, but I don’t worry much about pocket passers. They’re also beat up everywhere on D, so I expect OSU’s offense to overwhelm them. The only way Cal wins is if Goff dismantles the secondary, but I think that window of opportunity is quickly closing, as Reynolds and Nelson both tighten up. The secondary has been slowly improving.
The game is at Cal and a late start, both of which work against the Beavs, so I’ll keep it reasonable.
Oregon State 38, Cal 20