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Westsider Rider

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not a good way to start for the Lakers and Dodger talk

First up is the news that Grady Little has resigned and it looks like Joe Torre will become the next manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I'm definitely excited to hear about this as Torre is a proven manager who has won multiple championships and should be able to help this young ballclub. It probably won't hurt that he'll want to prove to Steinbrenner and the Yankees that he's still got it as a great manager. And who knows maybe this means Arod is coming to the Dodgers?

I was in attendance at Staples Center last night as the Lakers opened the season against the Houston Rockets. From my side of the arena I didn't think Kobe was being booed but I had friends sitting at the other side who said he definitely was. But those boos turned to cheers near the end as the Lakers almost came back from a double digit deficit in the last minute and a half. I was very pleased with the way the team played defense at times, but then there was the big lapse in the third quarter, combined with Kobe forcing his shot too much and it spelled doom for the Lakers.

As I've mentioned plenty of times, and all Lakers fans know, Kobe will get frustrated when he doesn't get calls then tries too hard to get them by forcing the action and essentially playing 1 on 5 so it's tough for the guys around him to get involved in the game. Granted Lamar Odom and Javaris Crittendon did not play but still they should have won the game if they had hit their free throws. The team shot 60% with Kobe only shooting 67%, I have never seen Kobe miss so many free throws, I guess his wrist is hurting him. On the other positive, it was great to see Derek Fisher back in purple and gold. He knows how to play with Kobe and it showed as he was the only other Laker in double digits on a very efficient 6 of 9 shooting night.

That said, I’ve stopped discussing all the Kobe rumors as they’ve just gotten out of hand and I didn’t want to deal with every little rumor that spread as we know 99% of that stuff is not true. Honestly, I can’t imagine that the Lakers would’ve green lighted the trade that ESPN is reporting today that fell through which would’ve brought Ben Wallace and Ron Artest to the Lakers. It would make no sense and it would've been a terrible move. Also making things more difficult is Kobe's insistence on Luol Deng staying a Bull if he gets moved. Someone has to budge and we'll just have to wait and see who does, Kobe or the Lakers, or for myself and all other Lakers fans sakes either the front office makes another push for Jermaine O'Neal, as long as they don't have to give up Odom AND Bynum, one or the other is fine, or this team gets it together somehow once Lamar gets back and starts winning because as they say winning cures all and it may be the only thing that can save this situation. Below are pics I took from last night.

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Week 10 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oregon
4. West Virginia
5. Oklahoma
6. Boston College
7. Arizona State
8. Kansas
9. Georgia
10. Missouri
11. Michigan
12. Virginia Tech
13. USC
14. Texas
15. Hawaii
16. Alabama
17. Auburn
18. Florida
19. Connecticut
20. South Carolina
21. South Florida
22. Boise State
23. Clemson
24. Kentucky
25. Wake Forest

  • For the first time in a while not a huge shakeup in the polls. Two big games this week with Oregon-ASU and LSU-Alabama.
  • I'm still not impressed with Boston College after they luckily pulled it out in Blacksburg on Thursday night. I expect them to trip up somewhere along the way.
  • Very impressed with what Oregon did considering their turnovers and the fact that Mike Belotti turned into Lloyd Carr once the Ducks took the 14 point lead with 8 and change to play in the game which almost backfired on him.
  • Georgia storming the field after the first TD was awesome. I couldn't believe Mark Richt actually called for it, I thought it was a great call considering Florida's dominance over Georgia in recent years.
  • The bottom part of the poll is a mess I can't find enough teams I think should be in there.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Picks of the Week

With the downswing I've taken lately a winning 3-2 week looks great, although it was one FG away from being 4-1. That brings the season total to 23-19 and here's this weeks picks:

Oregon -3 vs. USC - After seeing Oregon demolish opponents week after week and putting up points in bunches I am continually impressed by their performances. With USC coming to Autzen, I believe they will be pumped and ready to go, especially knowing that this game could give them an even greater argument at why they belong in the National Championship race.

West Virginia -6 @ Rutgers - As I've said all along West Virginia is a horse I've rode all year long, except their one loss against South Florida which I sat out, and I'm not going to bail on them now. They have been impressive in all their wins not only covering but doing so by the smallest of margins to make it tough on their bettors. With that said I fully expect a WVU win by 7 in the last minute just to make me sweat it out.

South Carolina +125 @ Tennessee - The Gamecocks are coming off their upset loss to Vandy and they should be fired up and ready to go. Throw in Steve Spurrier's rivalry with Tennessee and Phil Fulmer and the Cocks should take this game. Tennessee has not been impressive at all this year and the Volunteer faithful will be coming for his job after this one's done.

Washington State +190 vs. UCLA - This may be a surprising pick but it follows along with UCLA and how they do things. They'll win a big game like they did last week only to come out and lay an egg this week. There have been numerous reports that the focus in practice thsi week was nothing like it was against Cal and I completely believe it. Throw in the fact that it is a road game at the Paloose where the Bruins have struggled in recent years, only 1-5 against them in the last 6 years and the one loss was a miracle come back win two years ago, and I fully expect the let down to occur in Pullman.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recap from the Rose Bowl

Last Saturday I went to the Rose Bowl to take in the Cal-UCLA contest. Sure it was an upset but I definitely wasn't surprised to see UCLA pull it out, they pull out games they shouldn't every once in a while, but end up losing a good amount of games they shouldn't. Meaning they'll probably lose this weekend at Washington State.

Everyone is always on Karl Dorrell's case, and rightfully so, as I witnessed the most horrific decision I've ever seen from a college football coach at this game. For those that haven't heard about it or seen it, here's the recap. It's late in the 3rd quarter UCLA is down by one and now faces a 3rd and 1 on the Cal 38 yard line. I told my friends I was with I'd run a play action pass because you're going to go for it anywhere on the 38 and sure enough, play action called but nothing is there and Pat Cowan scrambles for no gain. So now we sit at 4th and 1, with a UCLA team that had been running the ball decently well against Cal and Dorrell calls a timeout. Sure it wasn't necessary but not terrible. Then out of the timeout UCLA attempts to draw Cal offsides, fails and ends up taking a delay of game penalty to punt back to Cal. Words cannot describe my thoughts when I saw this play unfold, as did the other Bruin fans around me at the Rose Bowl. The sad part is, Dorrell keeps pulling these upsets out and will keep saving his job. For the good of UCLA's program hopefully he'll be relieved of his duties soon, because there is no way he is going to do anything great with UCLA Football.

Coolest looking beer pong table ever, I'd love to get one of Staples Center or Crisler Arena.

Justin Forsett on the move, turned out good for him that ND pulled his scholarship.

TD, DeSean Jackson


Big Ten Roundtable

This week from Black Shoe Diaries, here are my answers:

Pretend for a moment you're the little Japanese guy on Heroes. You can close your eyes, clench your fists, crap your pants and go back in time. If you could go back and change one play for your team this season, what would it be?

The obvious play would be the blocked field goal by Appalachian State at the end of the season opener. Granted it would've been an ugly win but in this year's insane college football season Michigan would still be in the hunt for the NC. The other choice would be the 2 point conversion Coach Carr went for in the 2nd half which forced the team to go for another 2 point conversion, both which failed. Had we kicked the first extra point, we would've kicked the 2nd one and been tied and headed to overtime.

We're now two-thirds of the way through the season. Everyone likes to debate who will be the Big Ten Coach of the Year. I want to know which Big Ten coach is a complete moron that should be demoted back to fullbacks coach on a team that runs the spread offense?

I'm gonna go with Joe Tiller here. He's got to learn that all that O that runs up the score on bad teams isn't going to cut it if he ever wants to win the Big Ten. Even in the years that he didn't play Michigan and Ohio State he couldn't get it done and now that both teams are back on the schedule I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. But the Bible doesn't say anything about your rival. Which current Big Ten player do you most wish played for your team?

I would probably say Dan Connor as it would look great playing LB for the Maize and Blue this year.

Bonus Question: It's probably too early to start thinking about next year. Well, unless you're Minnesota in which case you've been thinking about next year for a month or so already. Assess your team's future. Was this year your chance to make a run or is this just a rebuilding year with greater expectations in 2008? Or do you plan to suck in 2008 just as much as you suck now?

This was supposed to be the year we made our run. Henne and Hart as seniors along with the favorable schedule. I believe we'll be in contention for the Big Ten next season but end up falling short, I wouldn't be surprised to see an 8-4 regular season next year but at the same time I could just as easily see us going 10-2 or 11-1 . A lot will depend on the WR's, IMO, as Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington can declare for the draft and it would make the transition a whole lot easier for Ryan Mallett to come in with two experienced wideouts to count on.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Week 9 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oregon
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Florida
7. Boston College
8. Virginia Tech
9. Arizona State
10. USC
11. South Florida
12. Kansas
13. Kentucky
14. Missouri
15. Hawaii
16. South Carolina
17. Georgia
18. Michigan
19. Texas
20. Alabama
21. Auburn
22. Penn State
23. Rutgers
24. Virginia
25. California

After seeing what Oregon did again this week I've moved them up to #3. They are one explosive football team and can put up points in a hurry, we'll see if I look like a genius or an idiot after the Ducks take on USC this weekend at Autzen. Still not buying the other unbeatens BC, Kansas and ASU, two of the three get a chance to prove it with BC taking on VT tomorrow and ASU taking on Cal, although they are currently reeling after two straight losses. Speaking of the Golden Bears they get the biggest fall for this week after their debacle at the Rose Bowl. I've been praising Jeff Tedford for his offensive prowess but I didn't see enough of it on Saturday. There's no reason UCLA should have beaten that Cal team but they did, Coach Tedford has to get this thing turned around quick with a visit to Tempe this weekend. Plenty of intruiging matchups starting with tomorrow, can't wait for this weekend's action to see what it brings.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pictures from AA earlier this season

As promised here are some pictures from the games I attended earlier this season against Oregon and Notre Dame. I'll have my top 25 up later as well as pictures/thoughts from the Rose Bowl this past Saturday.

Mallett getting ready to take the field for the first time.

Notre Dame Game

Hart going in for the TD

One of Mallett's 3 TD passes

Picture says it all.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Pictures from games earlier this season Part 1

I've finally come around getting the pictures I took from the three games I attended in September, Cal-Tennessee and Michigan vs. Oregon and Notre Dame, here are a few of the good ones. I'll also have up later pictures from the Cal-UCLA game I attended on Saturday with some thoughts. First up Cal-Tennessee.

Tightwad Hill, where you can watch the games for free.

This is the DeSean Jackson Punt Return, first the catch...

Right after he made the sick juke...

And to the house.


Big Ten Blogger Roundtable

1. Call your shot. We are halfway through the Big Ten season (or, at least, most of us are). What will be your team's final record? Where, if anywhere, will your team be spending late December/early January? Who will win the Big Ten?

Part of me really wants to say that we'll win out but I think that's going to be too much to ask with the games in East Lansing and Madison before the showdown with the Buckeyes. I'll say 7-1 in conference, 9-3 overall and another berth in the Rose Bowl where we'll end up probably losing to the Pac-10 representative because that's what we always do.

2. How is your team's coaching situation? Clearly, this varies from school to school, with some coaches approaching retirement (Carr/Paterno), some who are just starting out (Brewster/Fitzgerald), the unique case of Bill Lynch, and others who seem to be in their primes. If your coach is on the tail end of his career, where do you see things going from here? If he's still early in his tenure, any buyer's remorse? If he's in he's somewhere in the middle, are you happy or wishing things would go a different direction? How does your view correspond to the "majority" view among your school's fans?

With rumors of Coach Carr's departure having been floated around since even as early as 2004, I believe we are going to see his retirement sometime within the next 2-3 years, if not sooner. I have been on the Jeff Tedford bandwagon for a couple of years because of what he has done at Cal, turning around a program that was considered one of the worst in the nation, as well as handling the academic requirements at a great academic institution such as Berkeley. I had a lot of questions about Les Miles and although he was on my list, was not at the top of it, but my thoughts are shifting towards Miles and I'd say he is slightly ahead on my wish list now, call Miles 1a and Tedford 1b.

I'd say my view corresponds with the majority of Michigan fans, Miles seems to bring the best combination of having a connection with Michigan, while at the same time being open to new ideas and evolving with the game. He is also willing to get great coordinators as evidenced with Crowton and Pellini.

BONUS BASKETBALL QUESTION: If you plan to cover basketball, give us a brief outlook for your team. Who is your best player? What do you expect from the team?

I'll cover basketball as much as I can depending on what games I'll end up getting here on the west coast. It will help that I have the Big Ten Network but the time difference will also play a factor. I expect good things from this team, but I've always had a high expectation for our basketball program. I believe we can make the tourney this year, but I'll have to wait and see depending on how our guys pick up Coach Beilein's system.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Picks of the Week

After an atrocious 0-5, the season record now stands at 20-17, let's see if we can turn it around:

Alabama vs. Tennessee Under 55.5 - Two bets here with Bama as a pick em and the under for the game as well. Bama has struggled the past two weeks to beat inferior teams but with the rivalry game this week I expect them to come out firing on all cylinders. Traditionally this game is very low scoring and I believe it will be with the quality of both defenses.

Cincinnati -9.5 @ Pittsburgh - Cincinnati is coming off their loss to Louisville, their first of the season. They will be ready to go to take on a Pitt team that has not played well all year long and I don't expect them to turn it around at this point.

Louisiana Tech +15.5 vs. Boise State - Boise State seems to struggle away from the Blue Turf and Louisiana Tech has given teams hard times when they play them at home so I believe this game will be closer than most think.

West Virginia -24 vs. Mississippi State - The Mountaineers should continue to roll as they take on the Bulldogs from Mississippi State. WVU has taken care of business easily for most of the season and I expect them to continue their trend of covering ATS.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Week 8 Top 25

The horrible betting weekend kept me away for a while, also gave me some time to think about this weeks poll with the big shakeup up top.

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oklahoma
4. California
5. South Florida
6. West Virginia
7. Oregon
8. Boston College
9. South Carolina
10. Kentucky
11. Florida
12. Virginia Tech
13. Arizona State
14. USC
15. Kansas
16. Auburn
17. Hawaii
18. Cincinnati
19. Georgia
20. Texas
21. Michigan
22. Tennessee
23. Texas Tech
24. Penn State
25. Virginia

I didn't penalize the losses as much as many people, I still believe that LSU is one of the two best teams in the country and Cal, if not for the inexplicable brain fart from Kevin Riley, would have won that game without their starting QB. Hawaii was unimpressive at San Jose State but they're still unbeaten and it counts for something this crazy season. Michigan returns to the poll as well with the big win over Purdue, which was not even as close as it looked as 2 TD's were scored in the last minute to cut the deficit to 27. Some more showdowns this week starting with South Florida heading to Rutgers as well as Auburn-LSU and Florida-Kentucky.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Picks of the Week

Got back to a winning week going 3-2, to take the season to 20-12, here's this week's edition:

Northwestern -6.5 vs. Minnesota - The Wildcats come off their big win against Michigan State to face a Minnesota team that continues to struggle. I don't see how the Gophers will keep it close.

Wisconsin +7 @ Penn State - Wisconsin is on the road for a second week in a row this time to Happy Valley to face Penn State. This game will definitely be a close one and I can definitely see the Badgers winning this game out right.

Illinois -5 @ Iowa - The Fighting Illini are ranked and ready to continue their winning ways coming off their big win over Wisconsin. Iowa is having big time problems this year and it should continue as they face the Illini.

Indiana +3.5 @ Michigan State - Indiana needs one more win to become bowl eligible and its still October, who would've ever thought. That is enough for the Hoosiers to come out fired up and take on a Spartan team coming off their loss to Northwestern. IU will get ready to bowl after this game.

Boston College -13.5 @ Notre Dame - This is the weekly bet against Notre Dame because they are that bad bet. BC is undefeated and in the top 5 heading into South Bend where they have won their previous two trips. Matt Ryan will continue to lead his campaign for the Heisman and the Eagles roll.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Big Ten Blogger Roundtable

1. We’re halfway through the season. Practically the entire national media has declared that the Big Ten is having a down year. Is this cyclical, or is the conference actually becoming less and less relevant? What is your team doing to enhance or destroy the conference’s reputation?

It's a cyclical thing right now. Just like the Pac-10 was considered down the past few years and now they're up again. Michigan has done plenty to destroy the conference's reputation this season with the way the season started.

2. Illinois is winning football games. Football games! Illinois! How much longer will we have to put up with this crap?

For a couple of seasons but then Zook will do like he did at Florida, recruit great talent only to be a terrible coach of said talent.

3. I’m a man! I’m 32! For you, fair Big Ten Blogger, where does the line get drawn when, as Sunday Morning QB eloquently states, “second-guessing the split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress”? Hypothetically speaking, would you settle for saying that your underwhelming quarterback “simply isn’t performing well and needs to be replaced”, or would you call him “a functional retard that is one drool cup shy of riding the short bus to practice”?

I've definitely toned down my frustration with players, although more of it has to do with our coaching staff. I've never really gone over the edge and gone to insulting the players and as I get older it'll probably happen less.

4. Finally, a quick two-part question. Which player or players on your team have you been pleasantly surprised with this season, and what is the most important game remaining on your schedule?

I think the easy answer for this one is Morgan Trent. There was a lot of concern coming into the season as he was supposed to be our #1 CB but he's done a good job so far. The corners have been the least of our worries on defense. Definitely Ohio State is the most important, no matter what has happened this season, Henne and Hart have yet to beat Ohio State and although they have done great things for this team and this program I'm willing to bet if they do not bring home a W against the Buckeyes this year there will always be that asterisk next to their names in the minds of many Wolverine fans.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Week 7 Top 25

1. LSU
2. California
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Oregon
7. South Carolina
8. South Florida
9. Boston College
10. Cincinnati
11. Florida
12. USC
13. Missouri
14. Hawaii
15. Illinois
16. Arizona State
17. Georgia
18. Kentucky
19. Wisconsin
20. Florida State
21. Auburn
22. Texas
23. Tennessee
24. Kansas
25. Indiana

Another week, more craziness in the polls. It's a very weird year as there are arguments to move everyone outside of the top 3. A year like this there'll probably be only one if any undefeated team when the bowl season rolls around. I'm not that high on BC as many are, while I am very high on Cincinnati. A lot of teams we're not used to in the top 25, for football at least are in the poll, you'd think basketball season came early the way these basketball schools are all throughout it. Only two games this week involving ranked teams as LSU heads to Kentucky, and we will see if Missouri is for real with a trip to Norman. But just because teams are playing non-ranked teams we've seen throughout this crazy season that anything is possible so nothing would surprise me at this point.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Picks of the Week

After an atrocious 2-5 week we look to turn things around here with the season standings now at 17-10.

Cincinnati +4 at Rutgers - The Bearcats have been the one constant this season not only winning but covering every step of the way. They take on a Rutgers team that they defeated last year and is hurting after their loss to Maryland. I'm gonna keep riding the wave with the Bearcats.

Wisconsin +120 at Illinois - Yes I believe Wisconsin is a bit overrated, but an underdog at Illinois??? I just can't buy that, I'm taking the Badgers as I don't think Juice Williams is quite ready to take it to the next level yet, this week at least.

Indiana -13.5 vs. Minnesota - the Hoosiers picked up a big win at Iowa last week and should continue their winning ways against a bad Golden Gopher team as Lewis to Hardy will light it up.

Virginia Tech +5.5 @ Clemson - Clemson pulled their usual choke job once they get close to the top 10 and nows the part of the season where they fold and drop a few games in a row. I'll take the Hokies and the points.

LSU -7 vs Florida - Florida comes off the home loss to Auburn while LSU struggled for a half with Tulane. LSU is my #1 team in the country and they will play like it this week after they self destructed at Florida last year. The Glenn Dorsey will be causing problems for Tebow and co. all day and whether its Flynn or Perrilloux the Bayou Bengals have plenty of other weapons to put points up on the board.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Week 6 Top 25

1. LSU
2. California
3. USC
4. Ohio State
5. South Florida
6. Kentucky
7. West Virginia
8. Oklahoma
9. Wisconsin
10. Boston College
11. Georgia
12. Oregon
13. South Carolina
14. Texas
15. Virginia Tech
16. Cincinnati
17. Hawaii
18. Arizona State
19. Purdue
20. Rutgers
21. Clemson
22. Missouri
23. Auburn
24. Kansas State
25. Illinois

Plenty of movement in this week's poll. A lot of unbeatens went down but not enough teams to take their place so I did not make many drastic moves in the poll. Gone are Penn State, Alabama and Michigan State while Auburn, Kansas State and Illinois make their entrance. After watching Cal again I am more convinced than ever that they can/will take down USC and the road win at Oregon is much more impressive than any win that USC has put up so far this year. It is really weird having South Florida, Kentucky and Boston College in the top 10 as well as Cincinnati in the top 20 but it's that kind of year. Some more shakeups will occur with the Red River Shootout, Kentucky-South Carolina, who would've that that would be a big game, and LSU-Florida. Here's to another great week of College Football.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Days like Saturday are why I love college football

It was sort of ironic that Saturday turned out the way it did considering my Friday night at the Dodgers game. While tailgating one of my friends asked me if I was still watching college football this season. I was sort of surprised at this question considering my friends know my obsession with the sport. But my friend's question shows the thought process of the typical LA area fan. He's not a college football fan by any means but he says to me something along the lines of considering the way the season started I would've assumed you stopped watching because you have nothing left to play for. His reasoning was we no longer had a shot at the national championship so considering the expectations coming into the season there was no need to follow the team anymore. I can tell you that if USC loses two games in a row the bandwagon would empty so fast it wouldn't even be funny as most people out here think that way as well.

Then came Saturday which started with another sloppy ugly win for Michigan. I don't even know where to start with this coaching staff. I am, along with many others, continually disgusted at the playcalling by Mike DeBored, and as MGoBlog says "Throwing Rock since 1969." Everyone knows first down is a stretch run left, the exact same f(*#ing play. At least when Henne was playing it changed up a little bit but even then the plays are still predictable. I can't remember the last time I saw a play action pass that wasn't a rollout that was thrown to the tight end. Is it too much to ask to perhaps maybe throw in a play action on first down when the defense is stacking the box expecting it go left to Mike Hart? It's no wonder we get beat every season with all the talent we have because our coaching cannot adapt to the times.

After the Michigan game ended I immediately turned to the Cal-Oregon game so I could show my friends why I endorse Jeff Tedford as our next head coach. Tedford opened with a pass, then a play action pass, something I couldn't even tell you the last time I saw Michigan call. Yes Tedford is a west coast guy but I'm gonna hold onto the dream of bringing him out to AA once Coach Carr retires. His history of developing QB's with our tradition of QB's would be a perfect match. He would bring our offense out of the dark ages and back to competing on the national level. Right now we can only play in the Big Ten and then get beat whenever we go out of conference.

Now onto the big story of the weekend which was 5 of the top 10 teams losing. Days like this are why I watch college football, no matter what is on paper any team can go down any day, as Michigan fans saw first hand on September 1st. No other sport brings so much intensity into each game because each game is a playoff. I'll have my new top 25 up later and obviously it will feature a lot of new changes. It's amazing to see this coming Saturday which was supposed to feature a number of big time games including Texas-Oklahoma and Florida-LSU lose some of their luster as 3 of the previously undefeated teams went down this past weekend as it seems like both Texas and Oklahoma looked ahead and were not focused on the game at hand. Cal came through with a big time win at Oregon and now are the next team up after LSU and USC, although from what I've seen this season I believe Cal can beat USC. We still have to wait over a month until that game though and as we saw last weekend we can't get ahead of ourselves.

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