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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
On offense...watch 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?
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?
Building the Dam: What's your prediction for the game?