Well, the Bears are batting .500 on the injury front. Defensive back Marcus Ezeff will make the trip to Seattle. Ezeff has missed most of the past five games with a quad injury. He practiced Thursday and if fit enough to play. How much he plays is up in the air. The Bears thought they had him back a few weeks ago against UCLA, but after a few reps, he couldn’t go any longer and sat out the rest of the game. He’s been out ever since. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said he will give Ezeff a look, see how he responds, and then determine how much he plays. Ezeff’s presence, if nothing else, gives Cal more depth in the secondary. Before he got injured, Ezeff and Bernard HIcks were having a pretty good competition at rover.
After practicing in limited fashion Wednesday, defensive end Rulon Davis did not practice Thursday and will not make the trip. It’s another disappointment for Davis, who has missed six games this year with foot and knee injuries. Davis earned a starting role with a strong training camp and the Bears were counting on him as a pass rusher, but he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy.
Coach Jeff Tedford said tailback Jahvid Best has undergone a few tests during the past few days, including an MRI on Thursday, to diagnose his injured hip. Best definitely is out for Saturday’s game. The question is how much more. All things being equal, it’s never a good sign when a player is subjected to multiple tests to determine the extent of an injury.
The Seattle papers are reporting that it’s unlikely Washington quarterback Jake Locker will play. Locker suffered a neck stinger last Saturday against Oregon State. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Locker wore a helmet and pads for the first time in practice this week. But coach Tyrone Willingham said it’s unlikely Locker would play. However, Willingham wouldn’t go so far as to rule him out completely. That being said, expect Carl Bonnell to start. Bonnell threw five interceptions against Cal last season.
Oregon’s loss to Arizona tonight could have some bowl implications for Cal. Had the Ducks won out and advanced to the BCS national title game, it would have moved every other team in the Pac-10 up a notch in terms of fielding teams in the arrangement the conference has with the bowls. Right now, the most realistic outcome for the Bears is a tie for fourth place with Oregon State. In that case, Cal almost assuredly would be headed to the Emerald Bowl. But had Oregon made it to the BCS title game, OSU and the Bears would have been tied for third as far as the bowl arrangements are concerned. That would have put one of the teams in the Sun Bowl, and it likely would be Cal since Oregon St. played there last year and the Bears probably are considered a more attractive participant.
That’s not to say Oregon’s loss completely rules out that possibility. There’s a good chance the Pac-10 now could end in a three-way tie for the title between Oregon, USC and Arizona State. No matter which of those three teams ends up in the Rose Bowl, there’s a chance one of the other two could get a bid to another BCS game. That would result in the same effect, and probably place Cal in the Sun Bowl.