I’ve done my analysis of each of Cal’s opponents this upcoming year and am prepared to show off my prognostication skills by doing my very early prediction of each of Cal’s games.Â I’ll even give you scores!
Cal 38, Tennesse 30: In a game that was not as close as the final score, Cal is able to rebound from a handful of painful defensive mistakes.Â Unlike last year, not all of those mistakes go for touchdowns, but do result in about 13 unearned points.Â I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears down by as much as 10 early in this game, depending on when the defensive mistakes happen, but as the defense settles down, Cal’s offense, which is strong all game long,Â wins the day. The crowd is a huge factor both in getting the Cal players pumped up and helping them rebound from their defensive mistakes.
Cal 42, Colorado St. 16: In a game that is reminiscent of the mid-2006 season, Cal wipes the floor with a Mountain West team that continues in its struggling ways.
Cal 31, Louisiana Tech 20: In a game that is never in doubt, but one where Cal looks surprisingly vulnerable, Cal manages to win despite looking shakey.Â Despite the fact that there was no reason to think Louisiana Tech would put up any more of a fight than Colorado St., Cal looks like they may have taken them for granted and was looking forward to their revenge game against Arizona the following week.
Cal 23, Arizona 13:Â In a generally low scoring game, Cal manages to get their revenge for the 2006 upset over the now 2-2 Arizona Wildcats (their other loss to BYU).Â Generally, the Cal defense looks the best it has all year as the Arizona offense continues to struggle in Berkeley.Â On the downside, the Arizona defense continues to keep the Bears in check and the game is closer than Cal fans feel comfortable with.
Cal 31, Oregon 24: Cal will similarly demoralize the Oregon Ducks like it did in 2006 and will lead this game 28-10 going into the 4th quarter.Â Unlike 2006, Oregon who already has one loss to Michigan and a tight game versus Fresno St., with its fans behind it, manage a strong 4th quarter with two TDs to end with a respectable score.Â Nevertheless, the game will have a “Cal-Tennessee blowout” feel to it and Cal will get lots of props for the big win and will be rising in to the polls, intoÂ the middle of the top 10.
Cal 17, OSU 12: In a highly billed and nationally televised Pac-10 showdown of undefeated teams, a defensive struggle that is frustrating to Cal fans for it’s lack of offensive fire-power, results in Cal squeeking out a victory in a game where it scores fewer times than its opposition.Â Despite the fact thatÂ OSU came into the game undefeated because of upset wins over ASU on the road and an over-rated UCLA at home, Cal’s defense proves too confusing for OSU’s young QB.Â On the plus side, the victory can be given to the stout defense that kept OSU out of the endzone including an important mid-4th quarter goal-line stand that will have OSU fans questioning why their beloved Beavers didn’t go for it on 4th down with that little time left and the potential to tie with a touchdown and two-point conversion.Â Cal’s ability to beat an undefeated team catapults it into the Top-5.
Cal 45, UCLA 31: In a high scoring affair, Cal FINALLY wins one at the Rose Bowl upsetting the biggest home-field advantage for a Pac-10 matchup (neither road team has won this game since 1999, a 17-0 Cal/Holmoe (go figure)Â win in LA).Â The game ends up being the death-noll for a UCLA team with high expectations, it being their 3rd loss of the season (BYU and Oregon St. being the other two), as they sink into mediocrity despite having beaten Notre Dame at home the week before in a revenge game for them after the 2006 collapse in South Bend.
Cal 24, ASU 31: While it pains my to write it, I think Cal is going to lose one of the Oregon, UCLA or ASU games.Â They’re luck just won’t hold for all 3 road games.Â I’ve got to think ASU, with a new head coach leading the way, is the one that is going to pull it off.Â It’s the 2nd of two tough road games back to back for Cal andÂ ASU has an ax to grind against a Cal team that has abused and embarassed ASU for multiple years in a row.Â Cal goes into the desert with too much confidence and loses their first game to a quickly rising in the polls 7-1 ASU team,Â at the same time sendingÂ Cal reeling in the polls because in the end,Â the pollsters really have no respect for the Pac-10.
Cal 27, WSU 10: In another game noted as a defensive struggle, but one where the score is never all that close, WSU continues their downward spiral into the Pac-10 basement at 2-7, only above Stanford.Â The younger Mixon brother,Â Terry,Â regrets the decision to go north instead of playing for his older brother’s school.
Cal 20, USC 21: In one of the biggest heart-breakers in Cal football history, undefeated USC comes into Berkeley and beats the Bears in a very, very tight game.Â Cal will make one too many mistakes in a game where it was clear that Cal could have won, similar to 2004 down at the Coliseum, but just didn’t play consistently enough to get the job done.Â USC continues on as the #1 school in the country on their way to a national championship.Â Nevertheless, Cal holds onto aÂ low teensÂ pollÂ spot because of the tight game that has pundits around the country saying good things about Cal, despite the loss.
Cal 38, UW 13: Poor UW.Â They’re wallowing in misery late in a disappointing season with very little talent.Â They’re very much like the 2005 Stanford team that managed more wins than anyone expected through discipline and good coaching.Â Nevertheless, although they’ve managed 4 wins (Syracuse, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford) and still had a shot at a bowl game coming into their home game against Cal, there is just too much talent on the visitor’s sideline and they go down fast and easy in the first half, ending their bid at bowl eligibility.
Cal 37, Stanford 6: Stanford gives up their last shot at a Pac-10 win early in this blowout of epic proportions giving Cal its 6th Big Game victory in a row.Â In the end, Cal’s desire to impress the Rose Bowl committee combined with their superior coaching and talent were too much for Stanford despite their determination to get a conference win before their season comes to an end.Â They end the season 1-11, their only win being an uncomfortably close home game against San Jose St. in week 2.
Cal 21, Michigan 24: In their first Rose Bowl since 1959, Cal comes up short, despite “sneaking” into the spot via USC going to and winning the National Championship game.Â The joy of being in their first Rose Bowl was too much for this Cal team to keepÂ their focus through and although capable of a win, the Bears didn’t come with their ‘A’ game.Â The loss was to Michigan, not Wisconson as many pundits suggest because, just like many overhyped “alternative” Big-10 teams, they couldn’t beat either Ohio State or Michigan, finishing the season 10-2.Â Ohio St. loses a couple of painful games to Penn State and Michigan to put them out of the running despite their powder puff non-conference schedule with Youngstown St., Akron, Kent, and their only non-conference opponent with anything resembling teeth, Washington.
OK, that wraps it up.Â The key thing to remember is that the Bears go 10-2 (3 with the Rose Bowl loss), losing to USC and one of UCLA, Oregon or ASU on the road, while beating Tennessee and make it to the Rose Bowl by USC making it to the National Championship game.Â Just remember, you heard it here first.