Cal Golden Bears
Cal likely faces the toughest opener against the No. 2 Ducks in Eugene. The Golden Bears had a tough non-conference schedule, wrapping loses to Northwestern and Ohio State around a win over Portland State.
The high-scoring Oregon Ducks are backed by a defense that has allowed only three touchdowns all season, leading to a trio of blowout victories.
Second-leading scorer Justin Cobbs suffered a right foot fracture in August, but it looks like he is on track to be ready for the season.
The Sonny Dykes Era has been as advertised in his first three games as California’s coach: the offense is piling up points, and the defense has been a dud.
Having dispatched two mediocre teams at home, No. 4 Ohio State hits the road for the first time when it travels to Cal for a game on Saturday.
This week, more than most, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer really wants his running game to control the ball and keep it away from pass-happy California.
“I’ve seen the plays he had last year,” first-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’re ready for him to make some plays like that, some explosive plays. He hasn’t had a chance to do that so far up to this point. We need for him to do it.
There are four games this Saturday pitting Big Ten teams against top Pac-12 competition. This is the best opportunity until bowl season for the conferences to establish themselves as powers of the sport.
Jared Goff is the Bears’ rookie quarterback – and also the focal point for the Buckeyes’ defenders.
With a freshman quarterback, a new coaching staff and overhauled systems on both offense and defense, California comes into its season opener against No. 22 Northwestern on Saturday night with the element of surprise on its side.