Football: Where do we go from here?

Cal’s win over UCLA sets up a huge game this Saturday against Oregon. There are now just four teams left with only one loss in Pac-10 play, and the Bears and the Ducks are two of them. The loser obviously will have an uphill climb to win the conference championship, although that team can be comforted a little bit by the fact that each of the past two Pac-10 champs finished with two losses.

Still, it will be tough for whichever team loses Saturday to still win the conference. USC, tied with Oregon atop the standings at 4-1, has only one conference game left against a team with a winning record (Cal). The Trojans also play Washington, Stanford and UCLA.

Oregon St., which like Cal is 3-1, also has a favorable schedule with Arizona State, Cal and Oregon all at home. The Beavers do have to go on the road to face Arizona, as well as UCLA.

After Saturday’s game, Oregon has home games against Stanford and Arizona then at Oregon State.

The Bears simply need to win Saturday because they must go on the road against USC and Oregon State, two games which will stiff challenges. Assuming Oregon State beats Arizona State this week, there will be only three one-loss teams left after the weekend, and Cal and USC will meet the next Saturday. The Bears would be well-served to still be one of those one-loss teams for the game against the Trojans.

One thing is for sure: The Bears are going to have to get their offense in gear to continue to contend. Yes, they ended up putting up 41 points Saturday, but that wasn’t a true reflection of the offense. First downs and and passing yards were hard to come by until Kevin Riley’s touchdown pass to Nyan Boateng on the flea-flicker early in the fourth quarter. The Bears racked up some yards and points after that, but it was garbage time.

Cal simply needs one or two receivers to emerge. Boateng can be that guy, but he needs to be better. Otherwise, it looks like the Bears will pin their hopes on Verran Tucker or Jeremy Ross to provide another consistent option at wide-out.

it better happen immediately, because as good as the Bears’ defense has been for most of this season, they will be hard-pressed to completely silence the Ducks’ high-powered offense on Saturday. Cal’s defense can play well and still give up some points, so the Bears will need to score some themselves.

Cal will need to shore up its offensive line. It remains to be seen if right tackle Chet Teofilo will be back this week. He was in a boot Sunday after spraining his ankle. I’d look for Donovan Edwards, who ended the game playing right tackle, to be the man there if it comes to that. Edwards held his own after No. 2 right tackle Matt Laird also got injured.

And now for a couple of finishing touches:

–Cal crept close to returning to the Associated Press top 25 in the new poll released today. The Bears received 42 votes, good for No. 27. Here’s something good for the Bears’ strength of schedule: Maryland debuted at No. 25, meaning two of Cal’s three nonconference opponents are currently ranked (Michigan State checks in at No. 22)

–Here’s the slideshow from Saturday’s game by staff photographer Jose Carlos Fajardo.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Mark

    Fellow Fans:
    As an FYI, my pops played on the lines at Cal in the Joe Kapp era(lettered and played – both ways back in the day) He an my mom were married right out of high school in San Diego, so my mom worked for the Science Lab at Cal too. Anyway, I strayed and went to Oregon. Nevertheless we have had an ongoing bet for many years and I am tired of wearing gold and blue for a week following every game lately. Can you guys give me a break here? What is rather odd too, is that Joe Roth was a little-league umpire for me and my brothers during the years he played at Grossmont JC. He was a family friend and spent some time at our home before he left for Cal – asking my dad (and mom) lots of questions about Cal. I would really like to get my dad one of the Joe Roth shirts you all mentioned. It would mean a lot to my mom and dad. They thought a lot of Joe, “he was such a fine young man” and was good to us boys. PS, what is with all the Joe’s at Cal? Roth, Kapp, my dad’s name too.

  • oski1971

    Milo, regarding Tedford’s calling a flea flicker on his first play as a head coach, it was against Baylor at home. The MSU game was one or 2 games later in East Lansing. Other than that, all of your other comments have been right on. Keep up the insightful participation on this blog.

  • youngalum

    That hit would “forever be known” if we hadn’t collapsed shortly thereafter. That play and that game lost most of its luster when we stopped playing through the rest of the season

  • Jan K Oski

    Mark, Are you talking about the Big C shirt? Check out californiagoldenblogs.com to see the Bank of the West Advertisement. If you still want it, you might find it on ebay. I don’t recall seeing them anywhere, as I certainly would have boughten a throw-back Gold-out shirt for this year.

  • milo

    oski1971 – I’m 98% positive the flea flicker was tossed against MSU, then a ranked team. Baylor however was the first game for Tedford, so that was a mistake on my part.

    Any way, I remember listening to the MSU game on the radio and thinking…are you kidding me? I knew something was up at that point.

  • CalAlum97

    1st point: why is nobody talking about the heavy rain expected this weekend? If the forecast turns out to be correct, both teams might have a very weak passing game. It will likely come down to the battle in the trenches. Our O-line is banged up good, I’m a little worried about relying on them an entire game. Any thoughts?

    2nd point: The ‘under 30’ OU fans are a bunch of d**ks, second only in classless behavior to the Trojenz fans. You can already see here that they’re the only team besides $C to rear their classless heads here on our forum. Weak…go take it to the OU forums.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    CalAlum97 Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 4:19 pm
    1st point: why is nobody talking about the heavy rain expected this weekend?
    Why is nobody talking about your potential Las Vegas Bowl game against BYU?

  • Eric

    MoreNCsarecoming Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 4:31 pm
    CalAlum97 Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 4:19 pm
    1st point: why is nobody talking about the heavy rain expected this weekend?
    Why is nobody talking about your potential Las Vegas Bowl game against BYU?

    For the same reason why no one is talking about USC playing for the national championship – pretty unlikely to happen at this point.

    And, I have a question – all last week you were ranting about Norm Chow’s genius that would result in him directing Craft to carve up Cal’s D over the middle. I’m so thrilled that Norm listened to you – Craft certainly went over the middle, ensuring that a Cal defensive player would win Pac-10 player of the week honors. When can we expect the transcript of your in-depth discussions with Norm?

  • BootyBear IV


    The first play against Baylor was the flea flicker. I have the highlight video that came out 3 or 4 years ago, and I was at the Baylor game. We put up 70 points in Teddy’s first game. Oski is right, and I am %100 sure. I am curious, was Holmoe a great recruiter? Because Tedford did better the first couple years with his players. Why are our receivers so bad? I don’t buy experience, look at Michael Crabtree in his freshman season or even look at DeSean. Someone needs to step up or I agree with playing Vareen and Best together all the time with Syd the Squid playing both ways.

  • Duck Dad

    Who’s gonna win? Well, it depends on which DUCK team shows up to play…and which BEAR team shows up to play?

    Both teams have had questionable games, and also awesome games that put them into the top 25. I’ve been to every Cal-Oregon game in the past 5 yrs, here & there, and I’ve never been dis-appointed. I hope both teams bring their A-game and show anyone watching on ABC what Pac-10 football can and should look like!!

    I’ll be cheering from Section O! GO DUCKS!! (and if we weren’t playing you guys, I’d be cheering for the Bears)

  • Gerson_Bakar

    Hi MoreNCs!
    I get it now! the “NC” stands for Norm Chow. You are one trojan fan that realizes Pete Carrol is a fraud and nothing without NC!

    Norm Chow gets his players to play beyond their abilities (Like Tedford, Mike Riley, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Stoops and EVERY OTHER Pac10 coach)

    Pete Caroll? not so much! no one has led a team of 5-star recuits into more CHOKE JOBS than pete carroll has(without Norm Chow).

    So to you my friend, i raise a glass! we need more norm chows!

  • Gerson_Bakar

    Hi MoreNCs!
    “…most head coaches who are obsessed with recruiting rankings…”

    this could also explain Pete’s yearly choke jobs.


  • Jan K Oski

    Why are you newbies feeding the troll? Do you really think she’s going to stop by you bashing her? A little bird told me a classic story about the boys at LLNL doing a magical job of not feeding her. Yet, they’re close to getting all of her IP addresses banned from Scout.com. Too bad, the CC times doesn’t have that type of help. Go Bears!

  • skrappyO

    Get ready for a visit to last year as the bears get ready to tank again. Only difference will be it starts with this games shellacking followed by SC and our cross town rivals. Get ready for the spanking.