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Q&A with The Band is Out On The Field

In preparation for today's game, we would like to bring in Kevin from The Band is Out on The Field, unofficially the largest blog URL I've ever seen. But that's why you can save your favorite websites and access them at the touch of a button.

I'm sure the title of Kevin's blog lights a fire in most of your minds, but "The Band is Out on the Field" is arguably one of the most famous radio calls in all of sports. A refresher:

The "classic" part is at the end, but the first six minutes of the clip set the scene.

Now, onto the Q&A with Kevin:

Building the Dam: This college football season has been the year of the upsets-- Michigan losing to App State, USC to Stanford, etc. In those games, I thought the better team was playing down to the level of their opponent. But, all these teams have proven themselves against stronger opponents (USC beat Nebraska, Michigan beat Penn State, etc.). With Cal being obvious favorites over Oregon State, what are the Bears going to do to play at their level, and not the level of the Beavers?

Kevin, The Band is Out on the Field: interesting quesiton. I first would contend that both Michigan and Penn State stink. I think the reason we won't play down is precisely because of the USC upset last week. We aren't going to take our ranking for granted. I think the Bears will focus a lot on the fact that many people are shocked by the fact we are No. 2. Plus, they haven't yet played a complete game, so they are going to try to do that.

Building the Dam: Cal has a very balanced offense-- good quarterback, strong receivers, and a hard to stop rushing attack. The Beavers are known for a tenacious rush defense, but one of our corners and possibly one of our safeties is out for the game. Do you expect Cal to take advantage of the passing game agaisnt our young corner and unexperienced safety back-ups? Or do you think we'll still see an even balance.

TBIOOTF: Contrary to the popular perception, Cal is a running team under Tedford, always has been and probably always will be. While I think we will strive for some balance, it seems very unlikely that Tedford won't try to wear out the Beavers defensive front. They have already completely worn down Tennessee and Oregon, two teams that also had suspect passing defenses. That being said, if I was an OSU fan I would be terrified of the prospect of DeSean, Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan against a suspect and injured secondary.

Building the Dam: OSU has had a history of beating the Bears in recent years. The Beavers have beaten the Bears three times in a row in Berkely-- the most memorable was a 23-20 upset in 2005. The Bears were ranked #18 then, but that was the year the Beavers went 5-6 and didn't make a bowl. While the Bears are not the same team they were back then, does that concern you?

TBIOOTF: Of course we are more concerned than we would be for a normal game, I wrote earlier this week that OSU really has been the bellweather for our seasons under Tedford.

I won't recount the entire history, but we have lost to OSU at home in all of our not great seasons, and beaten you in Corvallis in our great seasons. Of course, that is rather circumstantial evidence. I am still having nightmares about Stephen Jackson running over us in 2003, just a week after we beat USC.

Building the Dam: Our All-American WR Sammie Stroughter is likely done for the season. Our QB is young, and our remaining recievers need to have the game of their lives if they want to keep Cal's defense on their heels. RB Yvenson Bernard poses a threat, (he had a great game against the Bears back in 2005) but he won't be as effective if the passing game doesn't produce. How do you expect Cal's defense to approach the OSU offense?

TBIOOTF: I think our strength as always is our run defense. At the same time, Oregon State has been one of the few teams that consistently has run over Bob Gregory's defense (which was the only defense that could shut down Reggie Bush once upon a time.)

I think we will key on Bernard, and let Canfield try to beat us with the passing game, which seems rather unlikely.

Building the Dam: Give us one player on each side of the ball who has the potential to surprise the Beavers on Saturday. Not an All-American, but someone who is flying under the radar right now who you really think has some potential.

TBIOOTF: I go one better, and give you two people to watch on both sides of the ball:

On Alex Mack. The guy is the best center in college football according to most accounts. He seems to literally control the game at times, and absolutely will wear people down.

At the skill positions, I would look at Lavelle Hawkins to have a big game after DeSean took the spotlight at Oregon. He has been by far our most consistent receiver this year, and seems to be an all-around emotional leader for the team.

On defense...I am not sure he is under the radar, because he likely will be an NFL Draft pick and All Pac-10 selection, but Thomas DeCoud is a pretty awesome safety. Against Arizona, he forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, had an interception, nearly had another interception. He holds the secondary together.

At linebacker, Anthony Felder played far, far better at Oregon than he had previously this season. Zach Follett and Worrell Williams are bigger names, but I would argue that Felder has a tougher job - because Follett is tasked with stopped the other team at the line and/or getting at the quarterback, Felder is nearly always dropping into pass coverage. Felder was a Freshman All-American along with Follett two years ago, but has been overshadowed the last couple years. When Felder plays well, no one notices, but when he plays poorly everyone does. Hopefully he keeps playing well.

Building the Dam: How does it feel to be the #2 team in the nation? What do you think the Bears odds of making the Championship game are at this point?

TBIOOTF: It is scary, because we got here because other people lost and we haven't really played one great game yet. Last year, we had played 2 or 3 great games by this point, but because of the Tennessee loss were lingering in the middle teens.

That being said, we have a pretty reasonable chance to the title game. We most likely will be favored in all our remaining games. But honestly, we would be pretty happy just winning the conference for the first time in 50 years.

Building the Dam: Along the same lines, Cal hasn't started 6-0 since 1950, and that year they won the Rose Bowl. Do you think the can run the table?

TBIOOTF: Yes, especially if they really start getting it going over the next few weeks. If they can carry momentum into the USC game, I really think that it will be difficult to beat the Bears in Memorial Stadium. Also, the Bears could have a functional two-game lead in the conference by that point if (1) Oregon beats USC (2) We beat UCLA. I think would take some pressure off of the final three or four games.

Building the Dam: What's your prediction for the game?

TBIOOTF: Well, obviously I think Cal will win. Before the season, my writing partner and I decided that we no longer were going to make predictions of scores or ranked lists (top 10 X, Y, or Z). This has worked out pretty well for the content of the blog and for the team as well. I would hate to jinx us now.
Thanks, Kevin!