Across the Web: Cal Bears

Written September 14th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

For this week’s Across the Web feature we visit with our friends from SBN’s California Golden Blogs.  The CGB was gracious to take some time and answer our questions and they even took it one step further for us.  We get the insight from a couple of different members as Kodiak and NorCalNick give us some of their views and opinions.

1. What do you make of last weekend’s PAC 12 success over the Big Ten. UCLA, ASU, and Oregon State all with wins?

Kodiak: Well, as good Cal fans, this naturally gives us a feeling of doooooom. The early reviews would be that UCLA and ASU have upgraded their coaching. Both schools seem to have underperformed relative to their recruited talent lately, particularly UCLA. Oregon State is always a bit under the radar, but Mike Riley does a great job. He might be the best coach in the Pac-12. He’ll have a down year here and there, sure. When he has veteran players, I wouldn’t want to face him.

NorCalNick: I think it’s clear that those three teams have improved immensely over last season, which isn’t a huge shock – UCLA finally has a head coach that won’t allow the talent they have to underachieve, and last year’s Oregon St. squad was unbelievably young and unbelievably injured.

That said, I think the fact that all three games were played on the west coast might have something to do with the clean sweep. Playing at home is always an advantage, but that advantage only seems to get amplified when one team is travelling 2/3rd of the way across the country.

Headed To The League

2. Cal has regularly had a speedster receiver returning kicks. Is there such a player on the roster today that OSU should worry about?

Kodiak: Brendan Bigelow is the designated speedster on kickoff returns. He’s finally recovered from a couple of HS knee injuries. Prior to getting hurt, his highlight films were a bit unreal. We haven’t really seen him unleash his potential yet, but there is plenty of coachspeak hype with how he’s starting to light it up in practice.

The guy to worry about is Keenan Allen on punt returns. He’s not a true burner, but has amazing agility and instincts in the open field for a bigger receiver.

On the other hand, Cal’s special teams units are poorly coached, so it’s all about individual brilliance by the returners and not so much a well-executed blocking scheme.

3. Given that the rest of the Nation only ever hears about USC and Oregon out of the PAC 12, we often have trouble identifying players on other teams. Name a player on each side of the ball we will know about after the and why? Read More

Big Ten’s Reputation Falls on Shoulders of Buckeyes–Again

Written September 13th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

PAC Dominance?

Somewhere, Pac-12 fans are scoffing at the Big Ten.

Through two weeks of the season, the Big Ten is just 2-6 in games against teams from other BCS conferences. Both victories for the Big Ten come from Northwestern.

And week two wasn’t particularly good for Big Ten teams against teams from the Pac-12. Illinois was blown out by Arizona State, Wisconsin was beaten by Oregon State and Nebraska lost a thriller to UCLA.

There’s a chance for the Big Ten to get some of its pride back this week, though, as the conference will put its trust in Ohio State. The Buckeyes will host the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday in The Shoe.

A win for the Buckeyes won’t necessarily save face for the conference, but it will make people feel a little better about the state of the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes (2-0) are coming off a somewhat disappointing 31-16 victory against Central Florida. Cal (1-1) bounced back from a week one loss and defeated Southern Utah 50-31.

The game also marks a brutal two game road trip for the Golden Bears. After they take on the Buckeyes, all they’ve got next week is USC in the Coliseum.

Ohio State, on paper, seems to be better than Cal at most positions and should win this game handily.

However, Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen is a playmaker. On the season, Allen has 11 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown. He could present some serious problems for an Ohio State secondary that has given up several big plays early in the season.

The Buckeyes did get some good news this week, though. Running back Jordan Hall should return to the field, but it is unclear as to how much he will play. And with Carlos Hyde officially out, depth at running back is a huge question mark for the offense.

One player who can’t carry the ball as much as he did last week is Braxton Miller. 27 carries, even for a player like Miller, is too much. Urban Meyer said Wednesday he would like to see no more than 15 carries for Miller.

We will see how that plays out, especially if the game is close. If it is in fact close, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller have more than 20 carries. This isn’t a good thing in the long run.

Ohio State should win this game. But you may wonder a bit if the Pac-12 has a slight mental edge over the Big Ten early in the season.I don’t think they do, but you can’t argue with the results.

Your turn, Buckeyes. The Big Ten is counting on you. Again.