(Written by Ken Crawford)
Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Both a busy week for me and I kinda needed a week away from thinking about Cal football. Last week’s loss was pretty depressing to me. It’s not just that they lost. It’s that they lost so thoroughly.
The pundits have completely written off the Bears today. They’re expecting a slaughter. I’m actually inclined to disagree with them.
Here’s a question for you, what is the most points Stanford has scored after the month of September? 31 points. And that was in their first game of October. Since then, they’ve never gotten out of the 20s.
Stanford wins games by controlling the football and grinding it out. They’ve actually responded really poorly to trailing in a game. In fact, they lost the only two games that they trailed in (Correction, they trailed in a 3rd, Army, who just happened to score first, but Stanford had the lead before the 2nd quarter started).
The fundamental problem that Stanford has that they do a very good job of hiding is that Hogan is not that good of a QB. The minute you put some pressure on their passing game and force it to be successful or lose, they start making all sorts of offensive mistakes.
So the key to beating Stanford is to beat their defense early for a few scores and then watch them very slowly implode as the clock moves really fast.
Can Cal do that?
If you said yes… please go sell crazy somewhere else.
I guess there’s some theoretical 5% chance that Cal gets a few lucky scores early by throwing over the top and letting their very good WRs fight for the ball against Stanford’s a bit over-aggressive defense. But Cal has shown no inclination to do it and Goff hasn’t exactly excelled at it.
But the real killer is the Cal defense probably doesn’t have what it takes to keep it together even if the above miracle happens. They’re WAY too tempted to give up the easy score. The trailing trend only works if the defense has a backbone.
So Cal loses this one, although merely because Stanford won’t score that many points, it’s also closer than Vegas thinks.
Final score: Cal 13, Stanford 27