Monday, July 31, 2006

Game Eight California...ouch again

California has risen under Jeff Tedford to take Washington's role in the Pac Ten. That role was to compete against USC for championships and scoop up the recruits that USC can't take. Tedford has done a superb job at Cal, superb enough that he was Washington's first choice to replace Keith Gilbertson. Tedford stayed at Cal with the promise of new facilities, a bump in pay, and most importantly the opportunity to stay in the Bay Area to raise his children. Tedford's probable next stop is in the NFL, but expect him to stay at Cal for awhile.

While it is easy to pick USC as the 2006 conference champion I am going with California who should be able to give SC everything they can handle. Two teams from the Pac Ten should make the BCS this year, and Cal is one of them. The difference with Cal is the defense, these guys have the potential to be special.

The reason Cal is going to be tough is that they have 15 talented starters back and are led by the best back in the conference Marshawn Lynch. Ayoob is back as QB, but Tedford is throwing the position into competition with four guys competing for the starting nod. At WR the Bears have a lot of speed led by Lavelle Hawkins, and Desean Jackson. The only perceived weakeness may be the offensive line where they will have four new starters.

On defense they are laed by all American Tackle Brandon Mebane, and Matt Melele easily the best inside tandem in the conference. At end they have both starters returnng so they are really solid up front. At LB rhey are saying it is the best group they have had in 40 years. Seatle O'Dea product Anthony Felder was a frosh AA at LB last year. In the backfield they need to replace the safeties, but Mixon, and Hughes at CB rate as the best in the conference. The Bears will be very tough defensively and that is the reason I pick them to win the conference.

Did You Notice?

Did you notice that a lot of the names of the Cal guys seem really familiar? If you are a regular at the Dawgman site, I am sure you noticed that. Well the reason is we finished second during recruitng on most of them. The players we traditonally used to get are going to California. Arizona, and Oregon are chipping away too. We have a lot of work to do to get that talent back.

Why California will win

Cal is a true BCS team heading into the season. Last season was derailed by rebuilding, and injuries, or they would have been there again. If you remember Cal just destroyed Oklahoma when they were healthy to start the season. Count on them to be much better at the start of this season which is scary.

Cal's defensive is going to shut Washington down, no doubt about it, they are going to pummel our offensive line which will shut off the running game. At that point it will be all on IS under heavy pressure, not a pretty picture.

Ayoob isn't anything special, and he might not start this year, but he had no problem picking UW apart last year in his first game after the starter was injured.

Offensively the Bear's should be in tune by game eight and rounding the corner for the title. The offensive line will experience minor growing pains early, especially at tackle, but they should be able to score more than enough points on the Huskies.

Ty can't outcoach Tedford on gameday. Ty is not in Teford's league, few are right now.

Why Washington will win

The only way Washington wins is if Cal has some serious injuries going into the game. The Bear's have way too much talent for us. Even a crippled Cal team had little problem with us last year.

Turnover's of course are also a great equalizer if you can cash in on them, it does happen, but don't bet on it.

What do I think?

I think it will be the most horrendous spanking of the season. We haven't matched up well with the Bear's since Tedford arrived, and I see nothing that indicates that it has improved in any single area. Defensively we will hold them better than in past years, but if you can't score you can't win. If you can't move the ball you are going to give them the short field, and tire out your defense. If you can't move the ball your QB is going to make mistakes that turn into points as he desperately tries to get something going. They won't hang 50 on us again, but it will be ugly just the same.

This is the start of a brutal three game stretch....Cal, ASU, and Oregon. Keeping healthy now and not losing confidence is crucial to the goal which is a winning record and a bowl game.

California 38 UW 3 (5-3)


tdawg said...

I ran across your blog yesterday, and I got to say I like some of your opinions.

I think Washington to show better against Cal. Washington's defense to be could be good. Hopefully that big tackle(can't remember his name) can come back healthy.

Good luck on the season. As much as I hate to admit it; Washington being really good is good for the Pac-10

Health Insurance Expert said...

Hi TDAWG, how ya doin! Long time no hear!

UW's defense could be good, but not nearly as good as Cal. Cal's D will be the best in the league, while UW might be at best 3-5.

The problem against Cal won't be our defense, it will be the offense giving up points after not being able to move the ball.

I am all for a close defensive game, but realistically I think they kill us and cause us to make mistakes.

Our offensive line really is in poor shape, and they wont be able to compete with an elite defense.

If they do, I am all for it. Make sure you stop by early, and often.

prrbrr said...

Just hope we don't get embarassed like we did the first game against Tedford at Berkeley, as well as last years game at HS where he boys quit playing in the middle of the fourth quarter and promptly had 14 run up against them, including the last play of the game with reserves playing. looks like the streak will now go to 5 in a row for Cal after what 19 for the dawgs. Just no embarassment!! Oh yes welcome tdawg, we can use another fan.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Tdawg, how did you find the blog?

Health Insurance Expert said...

I agree prrbrr...I hope it isn't a 50 pointer. By game eight depth could, and probably will be a problem, we might not even have a RB left by that game. Staying healthy and eligible is a big factor on how we finish.