College Football Analysis: Can Cal Take Down Oregon in 2012?

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If you’re looking for the perfect definition of a Trap Game look no further than Oregon at California on November 10, 2012. In fact, trap game, a great situational spot, emotional letdown, sandwich game, look ahead and every other college football handicapping cliché can be used to define this game.

Great situational spot for sure

If you like great situational spots then this is the game for you. Cal catches Oregon, in Berkeley, the week after the Ducks play a MONSTER PAC 12 game at USC. Most pundits believe that the winner of the USC/Oregon game will win the PAC 12 Championship and potentially be in line to play in the national title game.

Talk about a potential emotional letdown spot. Entering the Cal game, the Ducks will be either sky high after a huge win over the Trojans or feeling distraught after a huge loss. In either case the Ducks should be emotionally drained, and getting “up” for the Bears should prove difficult.

Back-to-back road games 

The game in Berkeley will also be the second consecutive road trip for Oregon. In addition, Cal will get an extra day of rest and preparation time after having played a home game against Washington the previous Friday (November 2, 2012).

And for an added bonus, though I cannot imagine the Ducks will be looking past Cal, this could also be considered a sandwich games as Oregon plays Stanford the following week in Eugene.

Cal’s Defense

Cal has led the PAC 12 in defense the past two seasons and should be extremely talented on that side of the ball again.

The Cal defensive line could be the best in the PAC 12. Defensive ends DeAndre Coleman and Mustafa Jalil have all-conference talent and the line depth has been bolstered by several years of excellent recruiting.

The Bears also have a lot of young talent at linebacker and three starters returning to the secondary.

QB Zach Maynard is Key

Cal’s offensive strength is a deep and talented running back group. The Bears return Isi Sofele (1,322 yards rushing & 10 TDs last year), C.J. Anderson and speedy Brandon Bigelow is a potential playmaker.

Keenun Allen is one of the best receivers in the conference and the offensive line returns three starters off of last year’s group.  But the real key to Cal’s offensive success will be QB Zach Maynard and what, if any, improvement he can make in his second season as a PAC 12 starter.

Head coach Jeff Teford insists that Maynard has progressed greatly over the spring and summer and is ready for a big senior year.

Welcome Home 

Cal has beaten Oregon three of the last four games played at Memorial Stadium. The last time Oregon was in Berkeley they were ranked #1 and escaped 15-13 after Cal missed a 29 yard FG attempt late in the 4th quarter.

Because of a yearlong remodeling project, Cal spent last season away from Memorial Stadium.  The cover to their 2012 media guide says “Welcome Home,” the Bears will be sky high for an encounter with the PAC 12 North favorites in their new digs.

Last month the Las Vegas Hilton released their college football GOY point spreads and Oregon was favored by 16.5 points in this game. What do you think of Cal’s chances to cover that spread, or better yet, pulling off the upset in this game? What potential trap games are you looking at this season. Thanks.

- Pez

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Get more great college football analysis over at Saturday Edge.