Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cal-Washington: Bears One Road Win Away From Beating Last Year's Road Win Total

The Bears haven't won in Seattle since 2005.
They're 3-11 in their last 14 trips to Husky Stadium.

No reasonable Cal fan will argue with you if you make any of the following statements:

1. Taco Bell sells tacos.
What does Taco Bell selling tacos have
to do with Cal football? Read on.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge is red. 

3. Cal was horrible on the road last year.

Now, I could sit here and talk tacos and bridges, but we're going to focus on that last statement because Cal really, really, really needs to win Saturday.

And here's why I think they're going to do it:

1. Washington's defense - If you name an important stat, there's a good chance Washington's D is the worst in the Pac-12 at it.

Scoring? At 36.7 points per game, the Husky defense surrenders the most in the Pac-12.

Opponents 3rd down conversions? Opposing offenses convert 57 percent of their third down attempts against Washington's D, this is a ridiculously high number.

How about opponent red zone percentage? Husky opponents have scored 14 out of 15 times that they've got to the red zone (93.3%), this puts Washington at 11th in the conference.

I could go on, but let me just put it this way, by any quantifiable measure, Washington's defense is bad.

Keith Price has to be Bear aware if Washington wants to win.
2. Keith Price - Good news for Husky fans: Price leads the country in touchdown passes. Bad news: thanks to the Nebraska game, he also leads the country in knees that barely work.

If Cal's D can get to Price early and often, this game will start going the Bears way fast. FYI: Cal is 7th in the country with 11 sacks, which means Price should be on the run most of the day.

Price has the knees of a 79-year-old man, so its actually physically impossible for him to be on the run most of the day, something will have to give.

3. Special Teams - ST coach Jeff Genyk talked this past week about how special teams won the Colorado game... and it did.

The Buffs had horrible field position all day, which is one of the reasons Tyler Hansen was able to throw for 9,000 yards, he started almost every drive inside his own 25.

Anyway, the point here is that the horrible field position was attributable to two things: almost all of Giorgio Tavecchio's kickoffs were touchbacks and Bryan Anger's punts were going 95 yards. And those two things are attributable to another thing: the thin air in Denver.

Cal will be playing in regular air Saturday, I need to see Giorgio play a good game in regular air before I can stop listing the specialists as a "key to the game."

So who do I pick?

A Cal win sets up an ESPN Thursday night showdown with Oregon. I love two things in life: cheetos and Thursday night showdowns. That being said, I'm taking the Bears 34-27.

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