Cal coach Sonny Dykes wouldn’t pick a winner, but said he is excited to have Thursday evening free to watch Stanford and Oregon clash in a Pac-12 matchup of top-five teams.
“No predictions,” Dykes said. “We’ve got our hands full with ourselves.”
The No. 2 Ducks visit the No. 5 Cardinal in a game with implications ranging from the Pac-12 North title to BCS bowl bids.
“It’ll be a heck of a ballgame,” Dykes said. “Two good football teams, two contrasting styles. If you like football, you like to see the contrasting-style games. I’m just glad i get a chance to watch it.”
Cal lost 55-16 at Oregon and plays Stanford on Nov. 23.
Dykes said the Ducks don’t get enough credit for how physical they play and how strong they are defensively. “The (two) defenses are actually pretty similiar in a lot of ways,” Dykes said. “Obviously, the two contasting styles are offensively.”
Oregon plays a wide-open style and averages 55.6 points per game. Stanford employs a power game, which produces 32.6 points per game.
USC defensive end Morgan Breslin, one of the nation’s most productive players a year ago, won’t be on the field for his Bay Area homecoming Saturday when the Trojans visit Cal.
Breslin, a senior from Walnut Creek, will miss his third straight game and fifth this season due to injury.
The former Las Lomas High and Diablo Valley College star was spectacular in his debut season for the Trojans last year. He totaled 13 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss, the most by a USC player since 2003.
Breslin had 3.5 sacks in USC’s 30-9 win over Cal a year ago.
But he sat out the season opener this year with a foot injury and has struggled since mid-October with a hip injury. Interim coach Ed Orgeron, who also coaches the defensive line, said he’s not sure when Breslin will return.
“In my 27 years of coaching, Morgan is absolutely one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached,” Orgeron said. “An outstanding young man, great team guy, just loves football.
“He’s with us in the meetings, but we miss him on the field. Everything he’s about exemplifies the Trojans.”
Breslin was a second-team all-Pac-12 pick a year ago and this season was nominated for the Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards, given to the nation’s top defensive player, and the Lombardi Award as the top down lineman.
Dykes said he’s been impressed with Orgeron, 3-1 as interim head coach since taking over after Lane Kiffin was fired on Sept. 29. The Trojans were 3-2 and coming off a 62-41 loss at Arizona State when athletic director Pat Haden made the change.
“It’s always difficult going through a coaching change,” Dykes said. “Sometimes it has a tendency to revitalize a team. I think that’s what’s happened with USC.
“Sometimes it provides a spark. The players like him and their level of play is different.”
The Trojans are allowing just 10.3 points over the past three games.