I met up with a few colleagues earlier this week for drinks. One of them, Mike Curto, is a California graduate. Curto currently serves as the radio voice for the Tacoma Rainiers.
I asked him what he thought of the UW-Cal game. His answer was short and succinct: He concluded the Bears were wrecked after last week.
UW - 1 point.
As far as some of the season trends, the Huskies have actually played as well (if not, better) on the road than at home - for reasons not plausible.
UW - 2 points.
The Huskies beat this Cal team badly last season.
UW - 3 points.
Yet, there is a certain emotion that comes with nostalgia - good and bad. It's one, I think, that will work in Jeff Tedford's group favor. The Bears don't lack motivation. And let's face it, overall - against the better teams in the conference - they've fared a bit better than the UW.
So ... here it is:
Washington (4-6, 3-4 Pac-10) at California (5-6, 3-5)Kickoff: 12:37 p.m. PST, Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, Calif.
TV: FSN. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: UW leads, 48-38-4, including a season-ending 42-10 victory over the Bears in Seattle in 2009. California has won six of the past eight meetings, including the last game in Berkeley in 2008, 48-7. At one point, the Huskies had won 19 in a row.
What to watch: How will Jake Locker and company attack this aggressive Bears defense? Lots of misdirection stuff, including designed quarterback runs, and the UW will try and stretch California out to the perimeter. … Will the Huskies try true freshmen Erik Kohler and Colin Porter again as starters? With Ryan Tolar (knee) hobbled, it’s likely. The last time against Stanford was a disaster. At least against California, Kohler (left guard) and Porter (right guard) won’t be on the same side of the line, and will also be afforded protection as interior blockers. … What will the atmosphere be like at closing-for-renovation Memorial Stadium? The students are on holiday break, but expect a sellout crowd to soak up all the pre- and post-game celebrations. The venue is scheduled to reopen for football in 2012.
What’s at stake: On the UW’s weekly football press release, the headline says it all – “Dawgs Face Bears in ‘Bowl Playoff.’ A loss, and the Huskies are eliminated from the needed six-win bowl eligibility (although it is possible a 5-7 team could reach the postseason).
TNT pick: Bears, 24-20.
PRIME NUMBERSWashingtonNo. Name (position) Ht./Wt. Year10 Jake Locker (QB) 6-3/230 SeniorPlayed arguably best game of career (325 total yards, five TDs) in 2009 rout.24 Jesse Callier (RB) 5-10/205 FreshmanShowing more versatility in run game that just being “fly” sweep weapon.40 Mason Foster (OLB) 6-2/242 SeniorSeaside High graduate expected to have own 75-person tailgate party at Cal.71 Cody Habben (RT) 6-6/290 SeniorHis two penalties erased 79 yards offense last week; expect better discipline.98 Alameda Ta’amu (DT) 6-3/330 JuniorMiddle plug in run defense, Huskies need him to carry full load (ankle).
CaliforniaNo. Name (position) Ht./Wt. Year01 Marvin Jones (WR) 6-2/200 JuniorBears’ leading receiver has four catches of 50 or more yards in 2010.10 Brock Mansion (QB) 6-5/232 JuniorAn injury puts in backup Beau Sweeney, a cousin of UW’s Nate Fellner.18 Mike Mohamed (ILB) 6-3/245 SeniorProductive (8.1-tackle average) and smart (on all-Pac-10 academic team).34 Shane Vereen (RB) 5-10/204 JuniorTwo touchdowns away from tying J.J. Arrington’s single-season mark (15).92 Trevor Guyton (DE) 6-3/285 JuniorRedmond High product part of 30-sack defense that ranks 30th nationally.