California defeated Arizona State 23-21 on a FG kick by Giorgio Tavecchio with 21 seconds left in the 4th quarter improving the Bears overall record to 6-2. With four games remaining Cal is currently in third place in the Pac Ten. The Bears still have to face Oregon State, Arizona, Stanford and Washington. The Rose Bowl is a long shot, but the Holiday and Sun Bowl are still a possibility for Cal. There are four solid to above average teams left on the schedule and the Bears have not beaten a ranked team all season.
For the second season in a row Cal has not been consistent on a week-to-week basis. Cal jumped on Minnesota 14-0 and had to struggle to win that game and today the Bears went up 14-0 on ASU and needed a FG in the last 21 seconds to win the game. The Gophers and Sun Devils are average football teams. That would lead me to believe that Cal will have a difficult time with Stanford and Washington. The Bears have not beaten a ranked team since they defeated the Ducks 26-16 on November 1st 2008. Arizona is currently ranked #20 and it is possible that Oregon State could be ranked when they face the Bears next week.
Cal is at their best when the passing game and running game are clicking. Against ASU QB Kevin Riley was 27/44 for 351 yards and 2 TD’s. Jahvid Best was held to 63 yards rushing, but Best was heavily involved in the passing game finishing with 61 yards receiving and 1 TD. If Jeff Tedford can get Riley’s completion percentage above 60% and get Best and Vereen going again Cal would have a great chance of winning the rest of their games.
ASU is a one-dimensional team and they have difficulty moving the ball through the air. QB Danny Sullivan finished the game 16/29, passed for 244 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. When Cal faces OSU next week they will be playing a team that is very balanced on offense. QB Sean Canfield is completing over 67% of his passes. RB Quizz Rodgers has over 800 yards rushing and 15 total TD’s. WR James Rodgers has over 50 receptions. The Bear team that shows up for this contest will have an effect on how this game will play out. Will it be the Cal team that just got by the Gophers 35-21 or the team that showed up against the Trojans and Ducks?